By Twilla Smith and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (EXW/SW/AW) Stacy D. Laseter
Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs
Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander, Navy Region Southeast, signed a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month Proclamation at the region headquarters during a ceremony, April 3.
"This proclamation is a declaration of beliefs long held in our Navy -- that sexual assault is not, in any way, acceptable behavior," Bolivar said.
This year marks the 13th annual Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), which highlights the work of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program.
"Sexual assault awareness is vital to the mission and in upholding the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment," Bolivar said. "By working together to help educate our community, we ensure survivors and victims are supported in order to overcome the trauma of sexual assault violence."
Navy Region Southeast is following the lead from the Department of Defense, continuing the prevention drumbeat with the 2017 SAAPM campaign theme and Navy tagline: "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission: The Difference Starts With You. Step Up and Step In to Stop Sexual Assault." This theme places importance on the critical role that everyone plays in thwarting sexual assault. SAAPM is an occasion to highlight the Navy's commitment to the SAPR Program.
Navy Region Southeast's Regional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Tina Vaughn stressed the importance of acknowledging the issues year long.
"Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month should not be the only time we acknowledge the issue of sexual assault, commit to prevention, condemn the actions of the offenders, or honor the journey and courage of those victimized by this crime," Vaughn said. "There should always be some part of us ready to stand against sexual assault, either directly or indirectly, just as there should always be some part of us prepared to hold space for a victim."
Events being held by the Navy Region Southeast staff include posts to the command's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/navyregionse, "Teal Tuesday" scheduled for April 25, which encourages everyone to wear teal to work, a "lunch and learn" event held in the main conference room and, in partnership with Naval Air Station Jacksonville, a Silent Walk event held at Patriot's Grove Park at 10 a.m., April 26.
"The events give the staff a unique opportunity to get out there and get educated on the effects of sexual assault," said YNC Gracie Barnes, the region's SAPR point of contact. "We think that if we can teach one person, then these events are a success."
For more information on SAAPM events and activities at Navy Region Southeast, visit the region's Facebook page, contact Vaughn at 542-2332 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact the Regional Sexual Assault Prevention Officer Lt. Clifton Johnson at 542-0037 (email@example.com).