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NHC Corpus Christi participates in Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention observance

By: William Love, Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi , Defense Visual Information Distribution Service 
Published: 4/10/2018 8:46 AM

​CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (April 6, 2018) – Capt. Miguel A. Cubano, Naval Health Clinic Corpus Christi commanding officer, joined Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Joint Service Commanders to sign the 2018 Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) Proclamation during a ceremony in front of the clinic.

This year’s theme, "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission" underscores the personal commitment required from all Service members at every level to cultivate the appropriate culture necessary to eliminate sexual assault.

Recognized in April by both civilian and military communities, SAAPM was observed at NASCC with a formal introduction by the base Commanding Officer Capt. Phil Brock.

“First, we’re going to focus on conducting ourselves within our core values. So for Navy and Marine Corps that is honor, courage and commitment. Think that every day, live that every day and you’re going to be alright,” said Brock. “The second aspect to focus on is encouraging positive behaviors. We want to work to remove, or at least reduce the negative behaviors which often lead to sexual harassment and sexual assault. And finally, we want to create and promote a safe and respectable environment, both at home and at the workplace.”

Following the proclamation, 157 runners from various on-base commands received the signal to sprint from the starting line in front of the clinic where the 2.2 mile Awareness Run began.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Joanna Mork, from Stockton, California, is assigned to NHCCC Dental Department and was one of 47 volunteers at the event.

“I’m here in support of the run and sexual assault victims. I think it’s good awareness and it’s really good education to be aware of victims,” said Mork. “If you see something wrong or you hear something wrong we are trained to intervene and protect those who can’t protect themselves. I’ve known people who were rape victims and it’s a really serious thing to consider and lookout for.”

According to NASCC Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Ms. Pat Kapitan, the goal of the observance was to show a united force that stands against sexual assault, promotes positive behaviors, supports victims and actively creates a safe, respectful environment at NAS Corpus Christi.

While benefiting from those goals, some of the runners shared their enjoyment.

“You know, camaraderie is defined as shared friendship through suffering. And I wouldn’t necessarily say that the run is suffering, but we’ve all had our commitments to maintain throughout our careers here in the Navy, so it’s always nice getting out here and running with some good friends,” said
Ensign Clay Tennies, from Cumming, Georgia.

Tennies and his three buddies running with him, John Holland, Ryan Ochoa, and Alexander Brown were each commissioned ensigns last May and are currently assigned to Training Air Wing FOUR.

“The reason that the Navy and the Marine Corps, and the military in general, need to be striving for zero sexual assaults is because [sexual assault and harassment] kills our combat effectiveness,” said Tennies, adding that it also has an adverse effect on preparedness. “And it’s nice to see on mornings like this we have events that aren’t just PowerPoints where the same things are repeated to us, but where it is something a little bit more meaningful, and where we can see active leadership out here supporting what they are trying to do to get us down to zero overall as well,” said Tennies.

In an effort to eliminate instances of sexual assault, Navy leadership has issued guidance on online misconduct, established counselors within the Fleet in addition to family support centers, improved personnel management processes to better respond to occurrences of sexual assault, encouraged bystander intervention, and leveraged technology to remove stigma and barriers associated with seeking help following a sexual assault.

Since its inception in 2001, SAAPM has become the highlight of the Navy's SAPR program, which helps prevent sexual assault involving service members through training, education programs, treatment and support to victims of sexual assault.

Victims of sexual assault have two reporting options: unrestricted and restricted. Unrestricted cases are reported through the chain of command, while restricted reports are made confidentially, which allows victims to get help without reporting it through their chain of command or law enforcement.

According to Safe Helpline, the DOD's crisis support service, one of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault is active bystander intervention.

The active bystander intervention approach encourages people to identify situations that might lead to a sexual assault, and then safely intervene to prevent an assault from occurring. The three components to active bystander intervention are recognizing when to intervene, considering whether the situation needs attention, and deciding if there is a responsibility to act.

SAPR is an important element of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, which consolidates a set of objectives and policies to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Anyone in immediate danger should call 911. To report a sexual assault, please call the toll-free DOD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247, the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) 24/7 at 361-523-3580, the NASCC 24/7 Victim Advocate Response Line at 361-438-7778 or a command SAPR victim advocate.

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