By Yan Kennon
Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs Senior Writer
Both military and civilian communities recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. For the Department of Defense, this year’s theme is “Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men report experiencing rape (sexual violence) at some time in their lives.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to combat and eliminate sexual assault,” said Capt. Matthew Case, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville commanding officer.
NH Jacksonville provides medical forensic exam services 24/7 at its hospital. The medical forensic exam incorporates the collection of potential forensic specimens into the medical exam process. Specialized training is required for those that provide or assist with the exams.
Service members and their adult military dependents who are victims of sexual assault have two reporting options: unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted cases are reported to both the command and law enforcement. Restricted (Confidential) reports allow adult victims access to
healthcare, advocacy services, and legal services without notifying the command or law enforcement. Military retiree, DOD civilian and DOD contractor victims currently may use only Unrestricted Reporting.
Active bystander intervention can help prevent sexual assault.
An active bystander identifies situations that might lead to a sexual assault, and then safely intervenes to prevent an assault from occurring. The three components to active bystander intervention are: recognize when to intervene, consider whether the situation needs attention, and decide if there is a responsibility to act.
The Navy offers 24-hour response capability to victims of sexual assault regardless of location — ashore, afloat, or deployed — to ensure timely access to services.
Anyone in immediate danger should call 911 (in the U.S.).
For those who have experienced a sexual assault, call the 24/7 toll-free DOD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247, NAS Jacksonville Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) at 904-548-7789, Naval Station Mayport SARC at 904-548-8392, or your command SAPR victim advocate.
Defense Switched Network (DSN) users can dial 94 plus the 10-digit toll-free number. Or, call 202-540-5962 or use the Safe Helpline APP (which offers Voice over IP technology).