GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) joined 2,000 Sailors on Naval Submarine Base New London June 14 to watch a presentation aimed at raising awareness of sexual assault and prevention.
The 90-minute production by students of Central Michigan University's (CMU) 'No Zebras, No Excuses' performance team took place as a training aid during the base's weekly general military training afternoon.
A quick talk by MCPON launched the event.
"I want everyone to have eyes on target to this," said MCPON(SS/SW) Rick D. West. "You have to take this as serious as you take submarine schooling, because it is a serious thing in our Navy right now."
The performance was a series of real-life scenarios followed by brief lectures with members of CMU's team.
"We're talking about sexual aggression here," said Stephen M. Thompson, CMU director of Sexual Aggression Services and facilitator of the performance. "Sexual aggression manifests itself in many ways; sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and partner violence. All four have one thing in common and it's about power and control."
Mixed with comedy and drama the CMU team hit home the fact that 1 in 4 people will be a victim of sexual aggression at some point in their life.
"I think this is great," said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Boyd Moats. "I just hope my shipmates get the message that they are trying to get across."
In the end, the lesson was summed up with one word - action.
"These incidents do not happen in a vacuum," said Thompson. "Other people know, but they just don't know what to do about it and that's why we are here. The first thing you have to do is notice behavior."
Thompson went on to discuss the concept of notice, interpret, and choose. He spoke about how one may notice an individual taking candy off the shelf in the grocery store and stuffing their pockets. The action is then interpreted as a crime. The result of this situational awareness is a fork-in-the-road of choice; do something, i.e. tell the manager, or do nothing.
"Doing nothing is the zebra," said Thompson, referring to an earlier analogy of bystanders being similar to a herd of zebras. "You can't change what you were before you walked in those doors. You can change what you are now and what you are going to be after today. Choose not to be a zebra."
The performers are all volunteers and this stop is part of a larger tour that includes: Kaneohe and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, June 18-21; Yokosuka, Japan, July 16-17; Okinawa, Japan, July 19-20; Great Lakes, Ill., July 31-August 4; Port Hueneme, Calif., August 9; Point Mugu, Calif., August 10; San Diego, August 13-14; on board USS Boxer (LHD 4), August 15; and Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 16-17.
MCPON closed the event with a few words.
"When referring to sexual assault think of the following powerful words; not in our Navy, live with honor, courage, and commitment," said West.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element of the readiness area of 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 Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.
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