PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) continued promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) with an outdoor luncheon and banner unveiling while giving out sexual assault awareness materials at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) April 25.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Department of Defense's SAAM theme this year is "Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone's Duty." The Navy will focus its efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through the use of command-level education and special events throughout the month of April with a different theme each week.
Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific, spoke during the luncheon emphasizing that sexual assault prevention is everyone's duty.
"I thank you for taking the time out of your busy day and for being here to show our commitment to making sure we take care of our shipmates," said Caldwell. "The only way the Navy is going to stamp out sexual assault is going to be a combination of efforts: treating each other with respect; a commitment from all to get involved and stop behavior that does not meet our standards; protect our shipmates and prevent sexual assault."
To help spread awareness at the function and to continue to promote sexual assault awareness this month, two teal ribbon banners were made by Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for COMSUBPAC. These banners will be displayed on the top of the escape training tank by the submarine piers. The banners depict a teal ribbon which is symbolic of the fight to end sexual assault.
Additionally, all COMSUBPAC commands and units within Navy Region Hawaii were authorized to participate in Denim Day. As mission allowed, commands were authorized to allow personnel to wear jeans to work on Wednesday, April 25, during regular duty hours as a symbol against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.
Denim Day began as a demonstration by female parliamentarians in Italy against the Italian Supreme Court of Appeal's decision to overturn a convicted rapist's sentence.
In 1998, a teenage girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor. The man was convicted, but his case went to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome. The court overturned the conviction, arguing that because the girl wore very tight jeans she must have had to help remove them, thereby giving consent to have sex.
The case made international headlines, and the young woman's jeans became a symbol of awareness that what someone wears is never an excuse for rape. In April 1999, California established the first Denim Day in the United States as a visible means of protest against myths that surround sexual assault.
The "Silent Service" took a stand by visibly speaking out against sexual assault when they showed up to work Wednesday wearing blue jeans.
"Events like today are a great way to educate people on how serious this matter is and what is being done to prevent sexual assault," said Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate Marion Rush Jr, COMSUBPAC Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program manager. "The turnout was great. I know that everyone that participated takes sexual assault seriously and will continue their support in the fight to end it."
Sexual Assault Prevention is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st century Navy and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the department.
Scripts and videos for each week's theme have been provided to commanding officers to help facilitate discussion throughout their commands. These engagement products, in addition to talking points, posters and other tools, are posted to Navy Personnel Command's Sexual Assault and Prevention website, www.sapr.navy.mil.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.