Story by Douglas Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) began at Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) with colorful graffiti of information from the “Chalk the Walk” display created on April 3, 2017.
NHB Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) victim advocates (VA), assisted by Sailors Against Sexual Harassment and Assault (S.A.S.H.A.) staff members, added sketches, diagrams and graphics of statistics, information and short narratives concerning sexual assault awareness and prevention on the command’s sky bridge.
“Like we did last year, we want everyone to see this before they come into the hospital and also when they leave. This is our way of reminding everyone about sexual assault awareness and prevention each and every day. We hope that everyone, whether they are staff, or patient, or visitor, sees all this chalk work on here that our group put together and understands that this is just one example of the support we provide for any victim of sexual assault or harassment,” said Lt. j.g. Nicole Willis, NHB SAPR co-coordinator, adding that this event is specifically visually designed to draw attention to the 2017 SAAPM theme of ‘Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.’
The “Chalk the Walk” is just one of upcoming SAPR events at NHB throughout the entire month to continuously remind staff on sexual assault awareness and prevention, as well as promote awareness of SAPR program resources, and continue focus on the goal of eliminating sexual assault and harassment occurrences within the Department of Defense.
Some of the chalked display included messages such as ‘It’s important to talk frankly sexual assault so we can prevent it,’ ‘continuum of harm is negative behavior from horseplay to stalking to sexual assault,’ and ‘No Means No!’ There were reminders that the DoD Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Helpline is 877-995-5247 and the 24/7 Victim Assistance phone number is 360-340-7037.
Along with the “Chalk the Walk” display, NHB will also host an informational table manned by the command’s victim advocates to engage with staff during the lunch hour, an awareness run, and several realistic SAPR drills to further hone Victim Care Protocols and timely response of the command’s SAFE teams.
NHB’s SAPR program and SAFE capability provide a balance of focused education, comprehensive response, compassionate advocacy, and just adjudication in order to promote professionalism, respect, and trust, while preserving Navy mission readiness. They are also comprehensive programs that reinforce a culture of prevention, response, and accountability for the safety, dignity, and well-being of Sailors and Marines.
The Department of the Navy does not tolerate sexual assault.
The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) directed military treatment facility like NHB four years ago to establish a multidisciplinary team – such as SAPR VAs and SAFE providers – to be able to handle any type of sexual assault case with a staff trained and ready to provide timely and appropriate medical care as soon as possible.
On a regular basis, NHB ensures that sexual assault education is provided to staff members. There is also an photo board on the first floor displaying the command’s victim advocates, so staff as well as beneficiaries are aware of who they can turn to in case they have questions or need help.
There’s even visual handiwork on display to help to spread the word, one chalk mark at a time.