ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Thousands of Naval Academy officers and midshipmen gathered in the famed Tecumseh Court April 1 to rally in support of the nationally-recognized Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
The Naval Academy will host events and activities throughout the month to increase awareness of sexual assault prevention and response initiatives at USNA.
Many events are designed to foster discussion, such as small group panels, guest speakers, and a special exhibit called "Spoken." This exhibit allows midshipmen to give victims a voice and gain awareness on a more personal level through a visual tribute. A performance called "Gender Matters" brings real-life issues regarding gender roles in society to the forefront of peer discussions.
Additional events are designed to increase participation and team building. These include the rally, a 5k run, and an electronic Easter egg hunt with each egg containing a thought-provoking question related to sexual assault prevention. An ongoing display will allow midshipmen, faculty and staff to add teal ribbons honoring past victims.
"As a team, the Naval Academy is uniformly committed to taking positive and proactive steps in the fight against the egregious acts of sexual assault and harassment," said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael Miller. "As superintendent, I will continue to emphasize education, awareness and the importance of reporting sexual assaults."
Sexual Assault Awareness Month builds on a comprehensive year-round training plan at the academy: every midshipman receives more than 30 hours of sexual harassment and assault prevention and education training over the course of four years, with training specific to their rank held no less than five times a year.
Specific actions items include:
* Conduct a Sexual Assault "Stamp Out" Stand-down.
* Improve safety and security of the brigade by increasing leadership presence in the Bancroft Hall dormitory and other campus facilities.
* Improve victim support through the assignment of additional civilian sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates, implementation of policies to increase the confidentiality of those victims reporting sexual assaults, and screening of incoming midshipmen for past experiences of sexual assault in order to provide appropriate victim support.
* Improve sexual assault prevention and response education, training and services by integrating best fleet and DOD practices.
* Address sexual assault contributing factors, with a continued focus on responsible use of alcohol, including educational efforts through random breathalyzer tests.
* Reach out to the many sponsor families within the community of Annapolis to enlist their help in identifying and removing causative factors.
"As an institution producing future leaders for the Navy and Marine Corps, nothing is more important than instilling and maintaining a climate where all midshipmen always treat one another - and expect to be treated - with dignity and respect," said Miller.
The Naval Academy's focus is part of a larger Navy-wide effort to reduce and stamp out sexual assault. Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, a set of objectives and policies designed to maximize readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force.
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.
For more news from U.S. Naval Academy, visit www.navy.mil/local/usna/.