WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy announced Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and issued guidance to focus efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through the use of special events and command-level education in NAVADMIN 106/12, released March 28.
The Department of Defense's SAAM theme this year is, "Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone's Duty."
In addition to this overarching theme, the Navy will highlight complementary weekly themes throughout the month.
"Sexual assault prevention is one key aspect of the Navy's 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative to increase the personal readiness of each and every Sailor within our Navy," said Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel and director of the Navy's SAAM 2012 initiative. "The weekly themes will underscore varying aspects of sexual assault and the Navy's efforts to raise awareness in order to eliminate this crime."
The four weekly themes are: "Hurts One," "Affects All," "Prevention is Everyone's Duty," and "We Will Not Tolerate Sexual Assault."
"Our goal is to foster a command climate in which reporting assault is embraced and encouraged while providing support to victims," said Van Buskirk. "We are also demanding a strict zero tolerance policy for sexual assault and accountability of all offenders."
Commands will host mandatory education sessions to raise sexual assault awareness among Sailors. Commanding officers can either hold a single two-hour stand down or break the discussions into four 30-minute weekly sessions, according to the NAVADMIN.
Scripts and videos for each week's theme will be provided to commanding officers to help facilitate discussion throughout their commands. These engagement products, in addition to talking points, posters and other tools, will be posted to the Navy Personnel Command's Sexual Assault and Prevention website, http://www.sapr.navy.mil, according to the NAVADMIN.
Navy installations and commands around the world will be organizing activities to raise awareness of sexual assault throughout the month. All units are encouraged to participate and promote SAAM events in addition to the two-hour stand down in April, said Van Buskirk.
"Collectively, we can make a difference in preventing sexual assault by engaging all of our people in a meaningful manner to raise awareness to change behavior," said Van Buskirk.
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 Department. The Department of the Navy (DoN) 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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