Regardless of the accused’s or survivor’s gender, research indicates that sexual assault is associated with an increased risk of stress injury and/or suicide related behavior. Sexual assault has been linked to both physical and psychological effects including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Reducing the threat of sexual violence from within our ranks is everyone’s duty. While ensuring the safety of Sailors and the Navy community is a year-round priority, Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) is a call-to-action to help us reenergize our focus on the scope and impact of sexual assault, while dedicating ourselves to becoming a part of the solution. It’s not just about awareness—it’s about knowing how to step up and step in to intervene during dangerous situations, and how to prevent them from occurring.
“I want Sailors to be a part of a team of professionals at a command that builds that command’s climate,” said Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt in her 2016 SAAPM message to the fleet. She emphasizes that while part of prevention involves promoting core values and respect—discouraging destructive behaviors such as sexual harassment, sexual assault or hazing—it also includes encouraging healthy behaviors and not tolerating misuse of alcohol. “I really want Sailors to know that offenders victimize individuals under the influence of alcohol, so it’s important to understand this approach and then be part of the intervention to prevent this from happening,” she continued.
Sexual assault can have lasting impacts on the survivor, perpetrator and command readiness. Learn how you can get involved in the fight to prevent it this month and all year long by visiting sapr.navy.mil. To report a sexual assault, contact your local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or your local Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate. The DoD Safe Helpline offers live, one-on-one confidential support to the DoD community worldwide, 24/7. Call 1-877-995-5247, text 55247 or visit www.safehelpline.org.
It’s about being there for Every Sailor, Every Day.
For more information on recognizing the signs of stress injury in the Orange Zone or stress illness in the Red Zone – check out our Stress Continuum Stress Zone videos on our NavStress YouTube channel.