Take Action: Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Attend Bystander Interactive Training

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and during this month, the Coast Guard will roll out Bystander Intervention Training (CG BIT). CG BIT is an interactive training that contains a blend of practical exercises and discussion based scenarios designed to motivate and mobilize people who may see, hear, or recognize signs of inappropriate or unsafe situation to act. As leaders (and we are all leaders), we need to not only assess our command climate, we need to assess how well we are helping our shipmates understand what is and is not acceptable behavior and the connections between sexual harassment and sexual assault. Both sexual assault and sexual harassment are incompatible with our Core Values and service in the Coast Guard.

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April is “Spring into Action Month” that highlights five national campaigns; Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Month of the Military Child, Volunteer Month, and Financial Literacy Month. Throughout the month of April, we will highlight how even the smallest action can make a big impact to those around you. Follow this series here on All Hands to learn about all of these national campaigns.

Unites States Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)Program.
Unites States Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)Program.

Greeting from the Sexual Assault Prevention Response (SAPR) program office:

This month the Coast Guard will roll out its newly developed Bystander Intervention Training (BIT). The goal is to present this training Coast Guard-wide over the next two years with the intention to keep the conversation going long after the training ends. Base National Capitol Region has been selected for the launch of this primary prevention initiative, so if you are in the DC metropolitan area and would like to participate, please contact your supervisor.

Bystander intervention became the subject of research following the brutal rape and murder of a 28 year-old woman named Kitty Genovese in 1964. The reports from this case said although she screamed for help, and was heard by many, no one intervened on her behalf. Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Bystander Intervention Training (BIT) from the Center of Sports in Society at Northeastern University were the front runners to develop a course in BIT. The course incorporates decades of research of why a bystander may fail to intervene and the steps that will lead to intervention in an emergency. It begins by telling the story of Kitty Genovese and concludes by connecting the participants to each other.

CG BIT is a customized version of the MVP BIT course that contains a blend of thought provoking exercises and discussion based scenarios designed to motivate and mobilize people to take a stand when inappropriate or unsafe situations are identified. Scenarios address a range of topics such as sexual assault prevention, sexual harassment, bullying, and suicide prevention. While some scenarios present easier decisions to make, others will put the participants into uncomfortable situations as they pertain to peers and supervisor/subordinate relationships. There are two versions of CG BIT, one for senior leaders and the other for junior members.

Only certified Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Victim Advocates (VAs) will serve as facilitators of this training. Commands are encouraged to be a part of this initiative by contacting your local SARC and requesting CG BIT on a select day and time.

Feedback from VAs that recently received the Train the Trainer course was phenomenal:

  • “Good way to talk about hard subjects in a fun and open forum.”
  • “Great training. I think open discussions like this are the most useful.”
  • “Enjoyed the ice breakers. It engaged us.” 


On the scenarios:

  • “It let us be involved and give our points of view. Made us realize we are not so different.”


To find out more about CG BIT and how to schedule training, view the recent ALCOAST and contact your local SARC . They’ll provide all of the information you need and assist your commands in scheduling training sessions.

Join the movement to stop sexual assault by using #NotJustApril on social media.

Report a sexual assault here, or go to https://safehelpline.org/.

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