ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines participated in the first ceremony and walk for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAPM) aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) March 28.
The walk kicked off Navy Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a month dedicated educating Sailors and Marines about the effects of sexual assault in the Navy.
"We are brothers and sisters-in-arms," said Cmdr. Greg Blyden, commanding officer of Carter Hall. "Together we can put forth our efforts for the prevention of sexual assault and increase awareness."
SAAM advocates on board Hall spent the weeks putting together the event and encouraging Sailors and embarked Marines to participate.
"April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and we hope that this event can bring each of us together," said Chief Logistics Specialist Cheryl Kurianowicz. "This event helps Sailors and Marines identify with each other and can help give them the courage to hopefully stand up for what is right and wrong."
More than 300 service members participated in the SAAPM walk in order to show their support and to sign a vow to help prevent sexual assault.
"I am here for all of the individuals who needed help and didn't know who they could turn to," said Quartermaster 3rd Class Sholonda Boynes, victim advocate for Carter Hall. "The walk is a representation of all the Sailors and Marines interested in supporting the prevention of sexual assault."
This is the first year that Carter Hall has participated in a SAAM ceremony and walk.
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 #SexualAssault and #SAAPM.
Carter Hall is deployed as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group with embarked Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 4 or USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), visit: www.navy.mil/local/phibron4/
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacennorfolk/