OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Senior leadership from various commands at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) met to bring awareness to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program at a summit held at the NASWI Chief Petty Officers' Club, April 17.
The three-hour summit provided a forum for best practices and intervention methods, which encourage a risk management approach that will support readiness.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Department of Defense's SAAM theme this year is, "Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone's Duty."
"Today we held a SAPR Leadership summit in which we presented three cases among command leadership," said Kathleen Schofield, Sexual Assault Response coordinator (SARC) Navy Region Northwest assigned to Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. "Among the leaders were panel members that included subject matter experts, Navy Criminal Investigative Service, Judge Advocate General, chaplain, counselors from the Fleet and Family Support Center, medical as well as SAPR Advocates."
The goals of the SAPR program are to promote sensitive, coordinated, and effective management of sexual assault cases, to reduce the incidence of sexual assault through awareness and prevention education, and to standardize reporting of sexual assaults.
During the summit, cases were presented during a roundtable/panel-based discussion concerning cases and command responsibilities.
"The intent and what we did today was to present three [fictional] cases of victims reporting sexual assaults [restricted cases], what went wrong with these cases and what was the right thing to do," said Schofield.
Scenarios were presented by the panel and audience to discuss what should happen, what goes wrong or right, resources and alternatives, policies and politics versus the right thing to do.
"The summit provided valuable information for me," said Lt. Ana Brown, assigned to Electronic Attack Weapons School. "It's great to have this put out to us so that leadership knows what the victims' rights are and commands can adequately deal with the situation."
Also on hand during the leadership summit was a guest survivor presentation.
"It's important to me as a SAPR advocate to go back to my command and re-train our members because a lot of our Sailors don't know what to do if something happens to them," said Logistic Specialist 2nd Vitalese Aigbokhan of Seattle, assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 61. "It's great to have these contacts and the help available to them."
Throughout the month of April, various commands will focus its efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through the use of command-level education and special events.
Displayed in and around the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island are SAPR silhouettes, which are called "Silent No More" placed in several key locations to increase awareness regarding the crime of sexual assault and rape in the Navy and Whidbey Island community.
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.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.