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The event, designed to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate Sailors on how to prevent it, was one of several initiatives set forth by REDCOM FW’s SAPR VA team this month.
“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and our theme this year is to ‘Empower, Respect and Protect,’” said REDCOM FW Lead SAPR VA Chief Personnel Specialist Erick Okewa. “The turnout here today was great! The command came out and participated in a fun way, and we were able to really emphasize to all of our Sailors that they are never alone. The Navy has various resources available to anyone dealing with sexual assault.”
Before Sailors began their 5K run, jog or walk, REDCOM FW’s SAPR VA team engaged with all in attendance by sharing information about direct and indirect bystander intervention, restricted and unrestricted reporting, and the team identified multiple SAPR and medical services points of contact both for the command and around the base.
“My advice to anyone who experienced or witnessed sexual assault is to speak up about it,” said Yeoman 1st Class Artrilisicia Ingram, a command SAPR VA. “If you see something that looks like it has the potential to escalate into sexual assault, you can intervene through direct action by just going up and taking one of the people involved out of the situation. You can apply indirect action either by deflecting attention, distracting, or calling for help.”
Participants received information pamphlets and donned SAPR-themed trinkets which included symbolic teal ribbon pins and bead necklaces.
“With the beads and pins and all of the items that were handed out, we’re kind of like a walking advertisement whether we’re on or off base to always be vigilant, to always be mindful,” said Yeoman 1st Class Juanita Armstrong. “So, this is something that if people come up to us and say ‘hey, what is this for?’ that gives us an opening and an opportunity to spread the word.”
As the event concluded, participants shared their thoughts on the effectiveness in the method of delivering the message by REDCOM FW’s SAPR VA team.
“This was an excellent way to bring us all together, get people involved, and spread knowledge of what to do if we encounter a sexual assault situation,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Robert Alvizo. “I haven’t ever experienced a situation like that, but I feel if something does come up, I’ll know what to do because of events like these.”
“I really enjoyed participating in the event, but more importantly, this gave us all an opportunity to reflect on the seriousness of sexual assault and reminded us of our obligation to prevent and respond when necessary,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer Casimir.
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