The United States Navy announced the observance of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), with the theme “Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone’s Duty.”
On March 28, the Navy also issued guidance to focus efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through special events, as well as command-level education, in NAVADMIN 106/12.
Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel and director of the Navy’s SAAM 2012 initiative, shared: “Sexual assault prevention is one key aspect of the Navy’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative to increase the personal readiness of each and every Sailor within our Navy… The weekly themes will underscore varying aspects of sexual assault and the Navy’s efforts to raise awareness in order to eliminate this crime.”
In addition to the main theme, there are complementary weekly themes that will be highlighted by the Navy throughout the month: “Hurts One,” “Affects All,” “Prevention is Everyone’s Duty,” and “We Will Not Tolerate Sexual Assault.”
Vice Adm. Van Buskirk shared further: “Our goal is to foster a command climate in which reporting assault is embraced and encouraged while providing support to victims… We are also demanding a strict zero tolerance policy for sexual assault and accountability of all offenders.”
Through the month of April, commands will host mandatory education sessions that aim to raise awareness regarding sexual assault among Sailors. Commanding officers will also be provided with scripts and videos for each week’s theme, in order to help facilitate discussion in their respective commands.