Navy in Hawaii combats sexual harassment, assault

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Navy Region Hawaii logoBy Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs – PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – Navy Region Hawaii conducted victim advocate training May 19-23 at the Military and Family Support Center. The training is in line with Navy’s efforts to combat sexual harassment, sexual assault and reprisal.

At Navy Region Hawaii the goal is to reduce sexual harassment and assault by creating a culture of prevention, education, response capability, victim support, and accountability.


“The Navy is taking care of its people.  We’re doing everything we can to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment through education, prevention training and accountability,” said Commander Jeanie Blackenship, the Navy Region Hawai’i Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Officer.

This will enhance the safety and well-being of all personnel, civilian and military, according to Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

Williams has addressed the issue several times in the past six months in “all hands” meetings with Sailors and civilians and in his region/base newspaper commentaries. He ties prevention of sexual harassment and assault to fitness and readiness of his civilian and military workforce.

“Sexual assault is a major crime that can tear apart commands wherever it occurs. Ending sexual assaults will increase our readiness and resilience as we become a more fit team,” Williams said.
“I am committed to creating the right conditions for a positive command climate and professional associations that enhance teamwork and support cooperation. These intangibles improve coordination and generate important wartime readiness,” Williams said.
Studies show that sexual harassment, unchecked, can lead to sexual abuse as part of a full spectrum/continuum of harm.
Trained counselors, victim advocates and resources are available to assist military service members or civilians who have been harassed or assaulted. Every work space or common area posts information on where to report incidents of sexual misconduct.
Service members are assigned, trained and certified as sexual assault response and prevention (SAPR) counselors; civilian employees are provided professional referrals and access to equal employment opportunity counselors.
In April, service members and DOD civilians in Hawaii participated in a month-long awareness campaign: “Live Our Values: Step Up and Stop Sexual Assault.”

The campaign – which included community outreach at the University of Hawaii West Oahu campus and other venues – reinforced Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. Service members and civilian employees learned about preventing, confronting, reporting and addressing allegations while supporting victims of harassment and assault.

Mandatory training on the prevention of sexual harassment is conducted annually.  In addition, Navy Region Hawaii participated last year in a Navy-wide SAPR stand-down, in which every service member and civilian received mandatory training.

Unrestricted allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are always investigated, and a full range of services are offered to every victim. Every employee and service member is provided with information on where to seek assistance.

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