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April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

By Yan Kennon | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | April 3, 2015

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes and nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced other forms of sexual violence at some point in their lives.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. This year’s Department of Defense and Navy theme is “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know your part. Do your part.”  The theme focuses on raising awareness and highlighting prevention of sexual violence with an emphasis on bystander intervention.

“Sexual assault is a crime and destroys trust, morale, divides teams and degrades operational readiness and effectiveness,” Capt. John Le Favour, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., commanding officer, said. “There is zero-tolerance for sexual assault in the Navy, and it is everyone’s responsibility to join the ongoing efforts to eliminate sexual assault.”

Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, abuse of authority, or when the victim doesn’t or can’t consent. It can occur without regard to gender or spousal relationship or age of victim.

Naval Branch Health Clinic, Albany uses April to increase awareness and prevention through educational outreach and events. The clinic will be supporting Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in the upcoming “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” sexual assault awareness event, April 18.

Since its inception, SAAPM has become the highlight of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program — which helps prevent sexual assault involving service members through training and education programs, treatment and support to victims of sexual assault.

Victims of sexual assault have two reporting options available — unrestricted and restricted.  Unrestricted cases are reported through the chain of command, while restricted reports are made confidentially — allowing victims to get help without reporting it through their chains of command or law enforcement. 

According to Safe Helpline — the DOD’s crisis support service for members affected by sexual assault — one of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault is active bystander intervention. 

The active bystander intervention approach encourages people to identify situations that might lead to a sexual assault and then safely intervene to prevent an assault from occurring. The three components to active bystander intervention are: recognizing when to intervene; considering whether the situation needs attention; and deciding if there is a responsibility to act.

SAPR is an important element of the readiness aspect 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.

Anyone in immediate danger should call 911 (in the U.S.). To report a sexual assault, call the DOD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247, MCLB Albany victim advocate at 229-881-3883, MCLB Albany Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at 229-639-7938, or your command SAPR victim advocate.


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