News: #SAAM: SPAWAR Holds 5K Walk/Run for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Story by Tina Stillions
SAN DIEGO - Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) hosted a 5 kilometer race April 25 to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“This is the second year we’ve held this event to help raise awareness about the problem of sexual assault. Every day at least one of our Navy shipmates becomes a victim,” said SPAWAR Command Master Chief Octavia Harris. “We need to look out for each other. Being a bystander is not acceptable. It’s important to intervene if something is not right in a situation, because it’s not just their problem, it’s our problem.”
Personnel of all skill levels came out to run, walk or cheer on participants. Resource tables were set up near the starting line. On display at the information table was a part of the "clothesline" project, an awareness tool where victims write thoughts and statements on t-shirts and sweatshirts that help make a physical connection to the victims of sexual assault. A representative from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team was at the booth to answer questions and hand out informational materials.
“The SAPR team helps active duty members and their dependents and civilians who have been sexually assaulted on Department of Defense property,” said Tammy Martinez, a sexual assault response coordinator from the Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Base Point Loma. “They learn they don’t have to be alone and that there’s a SAPR team available to provide support.”
Runners and walkers from SPAWAR donned their fitness clothing and gear to participate in the command-sponsored event. Volunteers marked time and handed out water to all the participants running in support of the Navy’s campaign to end sexual assault and acknowledge that it will not be tolerated.
Commands throughout the Navy have been hosting events and raising awareness during April about responsible behavior, active bystander intervention and safety from sexual assault. Within SPAWAR, leadership has been communicating regularly with the workforce, held stand-downs and training sessions, and supported all efforts to bring to the light the seriousness of sexual harassment and assault.
“As leaders, we must be committed to prevent, eliminate and never tolerate sexual assault. Sexual assault is my problem, your problem and our problem.” said Lt. Judy Luong, SPAWAR’s SAPR point of contact and the event coordinator. “I think events like today’s run are important because they help bring awareness to the problem of sexual assault. My hope is that it might also give a victim of assault the courage to come forward.”
For more information on the U.S. Navy SAPR program, visit http://www.navy.mil/navydata/sapr/index.htm.
For more news from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/spawar/.