MISAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Naval Air Facility Misawa conducted a Sexual Assault Awareness Stand Down for all Navy Misawa personnel April 27.
The two-hour training session, organized in conjunction with April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), covered a broad range of topics including prevention, response, family advocacy and the Victim Witness Assistance Program.
"Today's training is to promote sexual assault awareness, and to emphasize that we all have the ability to prevent this crime from happening," said Gunner's Mate 1st Class Patrick Ryan, who helped facilitate the stand down. "Every year the Navy and DoD seek to improve upon sexual assault education and training, but this year they are seeking to educate beyond basic awareness and focusing, not only on the victim's rights, but toward prevention as a whole."
During SAAM, all Navy commands are charged with ensuring their Sailors are aware of the scope of the sexual assault problem in the military, are aware of the resources available to victims, the detrimental affect sexual assault has on readiness, and that the Navy will not tolerate the victimization of its personnel.
"Ultimately we'd like to eradicate this problem from the military," said Lt. j.g. Jerry Cottrell, NAF Misawa training officer. "But to make that happen we have to increase awareness, promote the removal of common risk factors, and foster an environment of trust amongst our Sailors."
More than 200 Sailors stationed or deployed to Misawa attended the stand down, which featured guest speakers from both the Navy and Air Force.
"Regardless of service, it is our obligation to provide a safe and productive work environment for our Sailors," said NAF Misawa Commanding Officer Capt. Chris Rodeman. "Besides impacting the victim, sexual assault undermines our Navy Core Values and Ethos, which in turn, denigrates unit readiness and cohesiveness.
"It will not be tolerated here in Misawa or anywhere else in our military."
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor 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 Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working to aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.
Help raise awareness by joining the conversation on social media using #SAAM.
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