Pay It Forward: Together We Must Solve Sexual Assault in the Fleet

SAAM

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens believes that “[i]t is daily honest and frank conversations about sexual assault prevention that will make a huge impact on our Sailors, allowing [the navy] to continue to Zero In on Excellence.”  He urges sailors across the fleet to discus Sexual Assault and Prevention often and challenged them to pay it forward.

Discus it often 

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Michael D. Stevens (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom/Released)

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Michael D. Stevens (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom/Released)

In MCPON Stevens’ experience the more sailors talk about sexual assault and prevention the easier it will be to eradicate the problem. He related it to another serious problem that once plagued the Navy.

Growing up, I never wore a seatbelt. In fact, my dad told me that I had a better chance at surviving a car accident by being thrown from the car rather than being strapped into my seat! When I joined the Navy 30 years ago, I didn’t wear a seatbelt. I figured the advice that my dad gave me had to be true. It wasn’t until I sat through numerous training sessions filled with facts, statistics and illustrations showing the deadly impact of not wearing a seatbelt that I changed my mind. Today, I don’t put my key in the ignition of my car without first buckling up.

The MCPON believes the same principle to be true with Sexual Assualt. He replied, “I believe that one stand down will not rid our service of sexual assaults. I’d go further and tell you that one mandatory general military training session will not stop sexual assaults. It will take many training sessions to make an impact on this hideous crime that goes against our core values.” So, he issued a challenge for sailors to pay forward their knowledge about sexual assault and prevention.

The Challenge: Pay it Forward 

A volunteer hands out Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response ribbons to help spread awareness of sexual assault at the Pearl Harbor Commissary in Hawaii. (MCS 2nd Class Mark Logico / Navy via the AP)

A volunteer hands out Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response ribbons to help spread awareness of sexual assault at the Pearl Harbor Commissary in Hawaii. (MCS 2nd Class Mark Logico / Navy via the AP)

If sailors ask their shipmates to talk to another person about the sexual assault, if they activly charge each other to be responsible and think outside the box on ways to prevent sexual assault, MCPON Stevens believes this epidemic can be stopped.  He issued this call to arms during the 2013 sexual assault stand down:

“Shipmates, you’ve heard our CNO. Sexual assault is serious and it’s a crime. All of our Sailors deserve an opportunity to work in an environment that is safe and free of sexual assault. You and I, we have a responsibility to ensure that the conditions are set and maintained where that environment exists. Now, I call all of us to arms. I call all of us to arms to eradicate sexual assault because I believe that together there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. Now let’s get after it.”

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For those who have been victims of a sexual assault or those who know a victim there is help available. Below is a list of resources. Remember sexual assault is a crime, do your duty- be an active bystander and report it! Sexual assault has no place in our fleet!

Safe Help Line– 
Safe Help Line is the sexual assault website for the DOD community. Here you can find tips on understanding sexual assault, how to get help, find support groups for members of the armed forces who have been sexually assaulted, and most importantly this is a place where you can confidentially report a sexual assault.

MyDuty.mil
MyDuty.mil is an active online resource with an overview of what sexual assault is, ways to prevent it and how to report it.

Military OneSource- 
Military One Source is a DOD program that is designed to provide comprehensive information on every aspect of military life to service members and their families. Their services are available 24 hours a day both online and by phone.

Tell us how you plan to help prevent sexual assault in the Navy. Let us know by commenting below, and by joining the conversation on social media by using #NavySAPR. 

 

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