#SAAM: Bystander Intervention Training held at Pensacola Training Center

Story Number: NNS120330-13Release Date: 3/30/2012 5:57:00 PM
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By Steve Vanderwerff, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- A Master-Train-the-Trainer Team (MTTT) from the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) held Bystander Intervention (BI) training at Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC) March 26-27.

Bystander intervention training is one piece of a larger strategy addressing changes in attitudes and behaviors about sexual assault. CPPD is part of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) domain.

During the two days of training the MTTT qualified NATTC staff members and Sailors from the Gulf Coast area to become BI trainers and provide the training to a small group of NATTC "A" school students.

Class participants received training in areas including gender relations, abuses of power and discussions of social norms, all centered on the principle of supporting mutual dignity and respect.

As of late March 2012 close to 10,000 Sailors have received the training and more than 400 have been qualified as BI trainers.

The secretary of the Navy and chief of naval operations have zero tolerance of sexual assault and have made it a priority to eliminating the crime in the Navy.

Because of the magnitude of the problem and the importance of stopping the criminal behavior, the development of training to help leaders build a SAPR culture of professionalism, respect and trust that is institutionalized across the Navy was initiated.

Through a multifaceted, aggressive and persistent approach, the Navy is changing its culture by instilling in Navy leaders the critical role they play in developing a command climate that is intolerant to sexual violence and responding to victims and holding offenders accountable.

Bystander Intervention training is delivered to A-school students to educate them on their responsibilities to intervene in situations of possible assault or sexual assault and that, as leaders, it is their responsibility to act. They are being trained not as potential perpetrators or victims of sexual assault, but as bystanders who can and will intervene with other Sailors when they encounter risky situations.

"We don't use power points or electronic media to teach this course, it's mostly peer-to-peer interaction. We throw a scenario at them they discuss and come up with their own conclusions. There isn't a right or wrong answer. As we've discovered, especially with the junior Sailors, they love this type of training," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Courtney Caldwell, training team member. "We try to help re-calibrate their moral compass because they may not have learned the right thing to do. A lot of times we hear 'snitches get stitches' because that's the way they were raised."

The Navy's Training Support Centers and A-schools began delivering BI training to post-recruit training Sailors in January. The training held at NATTC, one of the Navy's largest training centers, was to support their need for more trainers due to the large student throughput.

The training teams taught the future trainers what they needed to know to teach BI training by providing an environment for frank discussions about mental models, assumptions, consent and cultural beliefs. They also discuss development of a command climate intolerant of sexual assault, while being supportive of sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention behavior.

"I really agree with the use of frank discussion. It makes it easier to retain. It breaks down a lot of barriers because everybody has their own backgrounds and culture," said Religious Program Specialists 1st Class Queenie West, NATTC staff member. "I expect to take away from this training a strong sense of courage to do what is right even in a bad situation. That's the same thing I want my future students to take away - to stand up for what they know is right regardless of the repercussions, to do the right thing all the time, not just sometimes."

The training is giving NATTC's instructors more skills they can pass on to their students.

"The training gave me perspectives on those who are affected and those who are causing it," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Launching and Recovery) 1st Class Andrew Vanwinkle, NATTC instructor. "It also gave me insight as to how I can teach my students who may think it isn't in them to intervene. With this training they're given direct or indirect options. They don't necessarily have to be the one who puts up an arm up, but they'll know who to go to for help."

On the last day, the training teams reviewed course material taught the previous day with the soon to be trainers and provided BI training to a group of 30 NATTC "A" school students. Referred to as a modeling session, it gave the new trainers insight on how to facilitate a class.

"The subjects we discussed were sometimes hard to get comfortable with and could get very personal, but it's something that we need," said Airman Apprentice Cecilia Flores Atrella, a NATTC A-school student. "There are a lot of very biased people who think victims put themselves in that situation like 'she deserved it' or 'he deserved it'. The class was very helpful thinking about situations from different perspectives. Before, I wasn't a strong leader but after sitting through the course I definitely feel more comfortable about reporting an incident or situation, and not thinking about it twice."

The Bystander Intervention pilot completed in the spring of 2011 showed statistically significant change in attitude.

"We want the Sailors to understand that being a bystander and getting involved could actually help someone else. We want them to know that there is nothing wrong with stepping up and being a leader. That's why we have them develop their own leadership list that we constantly refer to," said Joyce Dyson, training team member. "We want them to take away from the training that being a leader, stepping up and saying something is being a proactive bystander."

Sexual Assault Prevention 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) continues to work 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.

CPPD recently stood up a link on Navy Knowledge Online, which has the latest numbers updated weekly of how many Sailors and instructors have been trained.

For more information about Center for Personal and Professional Development visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/cppd/.

For more information about Naval Air Technical Training Center, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/cnatt/nattc/.

For more information about Naval Education and Training Command, visit https://www.netc.navy.mil/Default.aspx.

For more news from Naval Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnet/.

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120329-N-ZZ999-002 The graphic logo to illustrate Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) initiative.
March 30, 2012
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