HQMC (MR) Quantico, VA – Installations across the Corps are taking part in Sexual Assault Awareness Month during April. This year's theme is "My Strength is for Defending."
It's the fifth consecutive year that April has been designated for the campaign by DoD and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The week of 27 April to 1 May has been designed as “Marine Week” and there will be a host of activities such as a webinar, a congressional reception, display booths at the Pentagon and live interactive theatrical presentation at several installations.
"Installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Unit Victim Advocates are planning many events to expose the myths about, and to explain many of the realities of, sexual assault," said Ray Bruneau, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR) Manager, Headquarters Marine Corps. "The Marine Corps does not tolerate sexual assault. Sexual assault, as with any other behavioral health issue, has effects that reach way beyond the immediate victim and the perpetrator. Sexual assault hurts mission effectiveness by causing division and distrust within our ranks."
In FY08, 254 victims came forward and asked for help. Bruneau said “we believe the combination of increased program awareness, the availability of a restricted reporting option, the issuance of guidance to commanders allowing delayed action on collateral misconduct, and increased victim confidence in our response system are encouraging more victims to report these crimes and get the help they need.”
Because sexual assault is believed to be an under reported crime, all Marines need to remain vigilant and on the look out for warning signs.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS? If you see these warning signs, it is your duty to step in and protect your fellow Marine. Be watchful if you notice a Marine:
BE SMART – REDUCE YOUR RISK!
Bruneau added, “As Marines we take care of our own! All Marines should intervene when they observe a fellow Marine participating in conduct that violates our core values. After all, wouldn’t you want to know another Marine’s got YOUR back?”
If you become a victim of sexual assault, or would like more information about Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities contact your unit Uniformed Victim Advocate or visit the HQMC SAPR website at www.usmc-mccs.org/sapro/ for more information.