NAVAL MEDICAL CENTER CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina –
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team will be promoting awareness with several events throughout the month. The goal is to raise awareness, create and promote a culture free from sexual assault, and help victims by resource sharing.
“The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program is a Department of Defense program committed to supporting victims, increasing reporting and accountability, and significantly improving the awareness and prevention of sexual assault,” explains Tonya Stanley, NMCCL’s Command Social Worker and SAPR program manager. “The SAPR program at NMCCL is dedicated to making sure victims feel safe and supported” adds Stanley. “We want to ensure victims are aware of the services and resources available to them.”
One of these resources are victim advocates. Victim advocates are credentialed volunteers who offer emotional support and inform victims of their rights and reporting options. In addition, they share resources and help guide the victim.
“As a leader, it is important to stay committed to reducing and stopping sexual assault within the ranks to keep our service members healthy to defend our nation,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jerry J. Hughes, one of the five uniformed victim advocates at NMCCL. “Fighting against sexual assault is a role for everyone to play; if you see something, say something.”
Mandatory annual training of DOD members, both civilian and active duty staff, is one of the ways the DOD ensures education requirements are met. The training defines sexual assault, identifies ways to which persons can support the victims of sexual assault, and explains the reporting procedures for anyone who has been sexually assaulted.
“Education on how to address victim blaming, correct harmful misconceptions, understand consent, and how to not be a bystander are equally important in creating and promoting a culture of honor and respect,” emphasizes Stanley. “Everyone can do their part in creating a culture free from sexual assault.”
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, there are several resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The DoD Safe Helpline offers secure, confidential and anonymous interaction. The DoD Safe Helpline can be reached at 1-877-995-5247 or online at SafeHelpline.org.
Local support can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week by contacting the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune SAPR Helpline at 910-750-5852.
NMCCL’s SAPR team will be hosting several events in April to raise awareness in the community. Staff have been authorized to wear denim and teal shirts to support the victims of sexual assault on April 27, 2022; teal and denim are the national symbols of SAPR month. Two movie days will be hosted on April 20 and April 21 at the base theater. A Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Color Fun Run/Walk and resource fair will take place on April 16 2022, for all staff and their families.