Story by Yan Kennon on 03/31/2017According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report experiencing rape at some time in their lives. About 1 in 20 women and men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in the past year.
"Sexual assault can have harmful and lasting consequences for victims, families, communities, and operational readiness," said Lt. Ariel Campbell, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville sexual assault prevention and response point of contact. "It's everyone's responsibility to eliminate sexual assault from our environment."
Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, abuse of authority, or when the victim doesn't or can't consent. It can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of the victim.
April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) across the country, by both civilian and military communities. Since its inception, SAAPM has become a highlight of the Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. The program helps prevent sexual assault involving service members, through training and education programs, treatment, and support to victims. SAPR is an important element of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.
This year's Department of Defense (DOD) and Navy theme is "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission." The theme offers numerous opportunities to encourage behaviors that foster a climate of dignity and respect, and help ensure readiness to complete the DOD mission.
One of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault is active bystander intervention.
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.
Victims of sexual assault have two reporting options: unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted cases are reported through the chain of command and trigger an official investigation. Restricted reports (only available to service members and adult dependents of service members) are made confidentially and don't trigger an investigation, allowing victims to get help without reporting it through their chain of command or law enforcement.
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.). To report a sexual assault (inside the U.S. or overseas via the Defense Switched Network), call the 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.
NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population (163,000 active and retired sailors, soldiers, Marines, airmen, guardsmen, and their families), about 85,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities. To find out more or download the command's mobile app, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/navalhospitaljax.