WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The elimination of sexual assault was the topic of an all hands call led by the assistant deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training and education (MPTE) in Arlington, Va., April 12.
The goal of the all hands call was to heighten awareness of sexual assault and Navy's prevention efforts, and to encourage all personnel to take a stand in preventing sexual assault crimes.
Steffanie B. Easter, assistant deputy chief of naval operations for MPTE, introduced the group to the information covered in the first two weeks of Sexual Assault Awareness month training, focusing on the themes that sexual assault "hurts one" and "affects all."
During her remarks, Easter noted the parallels between sexual assault prevention and embodying the Navy Ethos.
"When you look at the Navy Ethos, you see the word 'integrity.' Integrity is the foundation of our conduct - doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons," said Easter. "It's not only making good decisions for ourselves, but stepping in when we see destructive behaviors taking place. It's showing respect for others - treating each Sailor with dignity, creating a command climate that rejects harassment of any form and treating each Sailor as a Shipmate.
"Preventing sexual assault is the responsibility of each and every one of us," continued Easter. "This isn't a 'one-time thing' or something we just want you to think about this month and then forget about. Prevention of sexual assault and embodying the Navy Ethos is about who we are, all the time. This is the Navy you've signed up to be in. Are you prepared to stand up, next to your Shipmates, to prevent sexual assault from happening in your Navy?"
Rear Adm. Martha Herb, director of personnel readiness and community support, lead the group of nearly 225 military and civilian members through discussions about the crime of sexual assault and the actions the Navy is taking to eliminate sexual assault from its ranks. She emphasized that sexual assault prevention and eliminating sexual assault is an all-hands effort that is leadership driven.
"I am very encouraged by the turnout today and the efforts throughout the Navy this month to eliminate sexual assault from our ranks," said Herb. "For these efforts to be successful, I need you to add your voice to the discussion - we can no longer afford to be silent on this issue."
Herb also highlighted the impact to mission when an assault occurs, reducing trust between shipmates and the ability to work as a team.
"When sexual assault happens, it hurts our Shipmates and affects the readiness of the entire organization. This violence is corrosive to morale and to our operational and combat readiness. Sexual assault prevents us, as a Navy, from working together as a team," said Herb.
The Navy is committed to improving how it prevents and responds to sexual assault. Further Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training for Navy leadership and the Fleet is being developed following an in-depth examination on sexual assault in the Navy and the best way to train all hands on their responsibility to confront the issue, according to Herb.
More information on Navy sexual assault prevention, posters and other tools are posted to Navy Personnel Command's Sexual Assault and Prevention website at http://www.sapr.navy.mil.
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 #SAAM.
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