Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Commander's Corner, April 2013

SPAWAR,

As I mentioned in my blog earlier this month, April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This year's theme is "Hurts one, affects all. Prevention of sexual assault is everyone's duty."

An article recently appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine titled, "The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer: Inside the military's culture of sex abuse, denial and cover-up."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-rape-of-petty-officer-blumer-20130214

The article resonated with me on several levels. This type of behavior wreaks havoc upon the morale of our Sailors and the readiness of our force. An evil and corroding menace, it destroys lives and undermines our core values as the world's greatest Navy. As a father, a husband, and a son, I cannot imagine my loved ones being the victim of such heinous acts.  This kind of behavior has no place in our Navy and, if left unchecked, will significantly impact on the readiness of our force and our people. We have made tremendous strides over the years in raising awareness about the devastating impact of sexual assault upon our people; but it continues to stain the moral fabric of our society and our services. I want to impress upon all of you that prevention is everyone's responsibility.

The unfortunate truth is that sexual assaults are not only prevalent in our uniformed Navy but impact our civilian workforce as well. The effects of sexual assaults are devastating and ramifications widespread - the dark tentacles of sexual assault touch the lives of family, friends and coworkers, both military and civilian.

I'll share with you a few sobering statistics provided by NCIS: More than two sexual assaults are reported every day in the Navy. It is estimated that 80 percent of incidents of unwanted sexual contact go unreported in the Navy.  One out of every six female civilians will be the victim of sexual harassment or an assault at some point in her life. As with our military community, many of these go unreported.

These figures are unacceptable. Intervening is not easy, but we have a responsibility to each other to prevent this behavior and to report it if we see it, which takes courage and is the central theme of our awareness training this month.

Sexual assault awareness and prevention is not a one month effort but extends through the year. When one of our own is hurt by an act of sexual abuse, if affects us all. But working together we can continue to raise awareness and bring perpetrators to justice, in the hope of eliminating it from our service forever.

All the best,

PHB

Link to Navy Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month page:

http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/sapr/Pages/SAAM2013.aspx