Rota Workshop Focuses on Sexual Assault, Suicide and Substance Abuse Prevention

Story Number: NNS110517-08Release Date: 5/17/2011 10:44:00 AM
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By Lt. Ben Tisdale, Naval Station Rota, Spain Public Affairs Officer

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Navy and Marine Corps leadership aboard U.S. Naval Station (NS) Rota, Spain, attended a U.S. Fleet Forces Command training workshop May 16-17, that focused on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR), suicide awareness, and substance abuse prevention.

The workshop provided training and prevention tools to command and deckplate leaders, which they can include in their individual command prevention programs.

"The Navy estimates that one in five female Sailors and Marines suffer some form of sexual assault during their career," said Cmdr. Pat Moran, NS Rota executive officer. "Additionally, we lost 38 shipmates to suicide in the Navy. While seemingly unrelated issues, these issues impact a command's readiness and the quality-of-life for Sailors and family members. We've got to do what we can to help prevent these types of incidents."

Navy leaders are making sexual assault prevention a top priority. Prevention efforts are focused on non-stranger and alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults. In the Navy's 2009 Annual Report of Sexual Assaults in the Military, more than half of the reports involved military subjects committing offenses against military victims.

Dr. Alan Berkowitz, Department of the Navy Sexual Assault and Response Office prevention advisor, emphasized the importance of bystander intervention, one of the primary prevention strategies.

"Do you set a command climate that serves to inhibit sexual assault perpetrators and encourage Sailors to seek help?" Berkowitz asked. "Military leaders have to set expectations for their Sailors to intervene."

Berkowitz said bystanders are individuals who are concerned about the problem but do not act on their concern. He said to help prevent suicide or sexual assaults, service members need to overcome their inhibitions to intervene.

"For example, you want to have an environment where people understand the command will respect and support those who in intervene and support those who prevent sexual assaults," said Berkowitz. "Leaders need to communicate to their subordinates that unhealthy behaviors such as sexual harassment and assault will not be tolerated."

To help create the right command climate and help leaders make the right decisions for their Sailors and Marines, NS Rota has a full spectrum of prevention tools available on base.

Marie Parker, USFF SAPR program manager, fleet standards and conduct officer, reminded attendees to use the resources available for sexual assault and suicide prevention.

"Engage with your local Fleet and Family Support Center's representatives, chaplains and medical service providers," said Parker. "This training is not all inclusive and not designed to make you experts in suicide or sexual assault, but it will build a solid foundation for leaders to make better decisions for effective prevention and response."

Lt. Cmdr. Kris Kearton, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic det. Rota officer-in-charge, said the value of prevention training helps leaders understand the resources available to prevent suicide and sexual assault.

"One of the suicide prevention resources I didn't know about beforehand was the Veterans Crisis Line, a Department of Veterans Affairs resource that connects service members and veterans in crisis, or their families and friends with qualified professionals," said Kearton. "Anyone can call the crisis line or go to the VA website for a live-chat to get the help they need."

For individuals considering suicide or anyone who knows of someone considering suicide, they can contact their command's suicide coordinator or local Fleet and Family Support Center. Victims of a sexual assault can contact their command's victim advocate to also get the support they need.

"Whether you are an E-1 or O-6, everyone at NAVSTA has a responsibility to prevent suicide and sexual assault," said Moran. "We need to uphold our core values of honor, courage and commitment in every situation and assist our fellow shipmates who need our help making the right decisions."

For more news from Naval Station Rota, Spain, visit

A photo illustration produced by the Defense Media Agency on suicide prevention.
091027-N-0000X-001 WASHINGTON (Oct. 27, 2009) A photo illustration produced by the Defense Media Agency on suicide prevention. (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released)
October 27, 2009
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