GREAT LAKES, Ill. (April 13, 2012) – Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) is using social media to get the word out to its training domain during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).
“We wanted to reach as many people as possible in our domain and thought using NSTC’s social media and web pages would be the most effective means of getting information out,” said Lt. Tanisha Thorpe, NSTC’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) coordinator. “We also felt it would have the least disruption to the daily training operation and routine for NSTC’s Sailors, Marines and staff members.”
NSTC, headquartered on Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., oversees all initial officer and enlisted accessions training for the Navy, with the exception of the officers produced by the U. S. Naval Academy (USNA). This training includes the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program at more than 150 colleges and universities that either host NROTC units or have cross-town enrollment agreements with a host university; Officer Training Command (OTC) in Newport, R.I.; and Recruit Training Command (RTC) at Great Lakes, Ill. NSTC also oversees the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) citizenship development program at more than 630 high schools worldwide.
“The training items we are providing online are geared toward our current active duty Navy and Marine Corps students and staffers,” Thorpe said. “Our NJROTC units are welcome to view the training we are providing, but this training isn’t mandatory for the cadets.”
The Navy announced April as SAAM and issued guidance to focus efforts on awareness and prevention of sexual violence through the use of special events and command-level education in NAVADMIN 106/12, March 28.
The Department of Defense’s SAAM theme this year is, “Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone’s Duty.”
In addition to this overarching theme, the Navy is highlighting complementary weekly themes throughout the month.
“Sexual assault prevention is one key aspect of the Navy’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative to increase the personal readiness of each and every Sailor within our Navy,” said Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel and director of the Navy’s SAAM 2012 initiative. “The weekly themes will underscore varying aspects of sexual assault and the Navy’s efforts to raise awareness in order to eliminate this crime.”
At NSTC, Thorpe and headquarters staff members put together videos emphasizing the four weekly themes of: “Hurts One,” “Affects All,” “Prevention is Everyone’s Duty,” and “We Will Not Tolerate Sexual Assault,” and also produced various video spots, like public service announcements, or PSAs, to upload onto the NSTC social media and web sites. These PSAs include a video by the Midwest Region and Naval Station Great Lakes SAPR representative, Katie Robinson, who talks about resources available for sexual assault victims, and perspectives from several NSTC staff members explaining what the month means to them and why it is important to today’s Sailors.
“I believe it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that it (sexual assault) doesn’t happen,” said Michael Prelich, NSTC’s administration officer and security manager.
Prelich, a retired Yeoman 1st Class with more than 25 years of naval and government service, said he has three daughters and he worries about their safety, making the right decisions and nobody taking advantage of them.
“And I think everyone should be aware all year, every year,” Prelich said. “And the more discussions and training that are held, the more aware we all become.”
NSTC’s Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Brian Hughes said sexual assault in the Navy definitely hurts one but affects all.
“As CMC, this hits home,” Hughes said. “When a Sailor comes to you as command master chief and has been sexually assaulted, you can see the pain in the individual. You understand what they are going through, and that it is real. On a larger scale, it also affects the all. You’re looking at their ability to perform. They may not be able to cope with the pressure that comes up in the work center or with the job they must do. Therefore, the work center as a whole suffers, as well as the command.”
Thorpe said the NSTC SAAM videos have been a useful addition to the command’s sexual assault training efforts.
“We here at NSTC headquarters are looking to broaden the training at our NROTC units, and at OTC and RTC,” Thorpe said. “We are assuring that each of these commands are hosting mandatory education sessions to raise sexual assault awareness among each command’s or unit’s Sailors, Marines, midshipmen and officer candidates. By producing the videos, we are providing tools for each command and program to use along with the scripts, videos, Powerpoints and graphics being provided by the Navy.”
Thorpe said each command and unit have also been notified to either hold a single two-hour stand down or break the discussions into four 30-minute weekly sessions, according to the NAVADMIN. Along with NSTCs video productions, other training resources and products, include talking points, posters and other tools are posted to the Navy Personnel Command's Sexual Assault and Prevention website (http://www.sapr.navy.mil).
“Statistically in the Navy, sexual assault is still a blue-on-blue (Sailor-on-Sailor) junior Sailor problem and concern,” Thorpe said. “We need to make sure that the command climate is conducive where a victim has the ability, knowledge and safety to be able to report a case, and that the command provides the necessary resources and training to react and assist in a timely fashion when it is reported. All of us in the NSTC domain should have the training to be able to assist a victim and command in dealing with the issue.”
For more information on SAAM, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more information on NSTC, OTC and RTC visit http://www1.netc.navy.mil/nstc/index.asp.