We owe our Sailors, Marines and the American people a solution to the sexual assault problem in our ranks,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a video message played during a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) stand-down June 20.
Sailors from Naval Base San Diego participated in the mandatory SAPR stand-down, which also included a message from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, followed by SAPR training refresher and an open-floor discussion about sexual assault.
The reason for the stand-down is to ensure service members understand the Navy’s policy on sexual assault, sexual harassment, and how and where to report violations.
“We are trying to create an environment where sexual assault isn’t tolerated and cannot happen,” said Cmdr. Dennis Keck, executive officer of Naval Base San Diego, to his Sailors during the training. “It is a hard problem to solve, but we are trying to change the culture.”
Keck also explained even though SAPR training might feel redundant, it is necessary. He said that according to recent command climate surveys, 20 percent of Sailors still don’t understand or know the difference between restricted and unrestricted reporting.
“We, in this room, taking part in this training, are responsible and accountable for fostering an environment and command climate that supports and upholds treating each other with dignity, respect and trust,” said Capt. Winton Smith, commanding officer of Naval Base San Diego. “Sexist behavior, sexual harassment and sexual assault are not tolerated.”
Press Release, June 25, 2013; Image: US Navy