News: Division leadership conducts Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training
Story by Sgt. Jacob Harrer
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Commanders and sergeants major throughout the 1st Marine Division concluded two days of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response training here, Jan. 24.
The training, hosted by the Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the 1st Marine Division commanding general, and Sgt. Maj. Michael Kufchak, the 1st Marine Division sergeant major, included leaders who have recently returned from deployments overseas.
The purpose of the training was to familiarize regimental and battalion leadership with the most current information and policies relating to sexual assault prevention and resources for victims.
The Marine leaders discussed current trends in the Marine Corps, how to respond to reports of sexual assault, and strategies to effectively deal with sexual assault within their commands.
As military leadership has come under intense scrutiny with regard to rising sexual assault rates across the services, Bailey emphasized the importance of creating a climate of mutual respect among Marines.
Last year, Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, summoned all non-deployed general officers back to Quantico, Va., to receive training and engage the problem, Bailey said.
The Marine Corps has aggressively tackled the sexual assault issue, taking the lead with an operational planning team tasked with creating and implementing a prevention and response program, Kufchak said.
The program includes training all Marines and sailors, increasing the number of sexual assault nurse examiners in hospitals throughout the force, and increasing law enforcement presence, to include federal agents specializing in sexual assaults cases, Kufchak added.
Bailey said Marine Corps leadership expects a rise in reported incidents as a result of the program because more Marines and sailors will be more comfortable coming forward, enabling them to receive the help they need.
“What we want to do is have a program that works, a program that’s responsive, and a program that takes care of Marines and sailors in our commands and makes sure no one is left out there to deal with this alone,” Bailey said.