On Wednesday night, Comedy Central aired the season premiere of a show called Workaholics. The show featured a storyline in which a group of characters meant to be Coast Guard recruiters were depicted in a vile hazing incident which included both an illegal criminal act of sexual assault and the involvement of a dog. The show went on to include a scene in which these same characters agreed to take part in a pornographic movie.
Leadership and the prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment are inextricably connected. As 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. Offenders can and should expect serious consequences if they decide to engage in either behavior.
In the inaugural post for our series “Why aren’t you talking with your Shipmates about sexual assault?” we detailed some of the barriers to effective communication that may be hindering our ability to develop a shared perception – a shared reality – regarding the crime of sexual assault in the Coast Guard. We continue that discussion by examining another barrier that not only hinders communication, but also hinders our ability to create change.
Our workforce has committed to eliminating sexual assault from the Coast Guard through better policies, training, victim support services and communications. We must also commit to driving out language and attitudes that serve to silence vulnerable shipmates and empower potential predators. That commitment is an expression of honor, respect and devotion to duty that strengthens our service, wherever we serve.
A Coast Guard petty officer was convicted and sentenced Saturday during a general court-martial at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Petty Officer 2nd Class Omar Gomez was sentenced to confinement of eight years, reduction to pay grade E-1, and a dishonorable discharge.
As part of our efforts to help Coast Guardsmen better understand the military justice system and to bring awareness to the military justice system’s handling of cases involving charges of sexual assault, this blog post summarizes information about recent and ongoing trials – information that has already been released to the public via the media.
This blog post, and those that will follow in a series, is a means by which we can begin to shape our shared perception, our shared understanding of the severity of the problem, a shared reality of what must be done to eliminate this behavior from our midst. This blog post is written to directly, frankly, and intrusively inform its readers of the breadth and scope of sexual assault in the Coast Guard – your Coast Guard, our Coast Guard, America’s Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Director of Health, Safety and Work-Life announced Tuesday the implementation of new and more stringent screening criteria that resulted in removal of the victim advocate designation from 76 active-duty personnel performing that collateral duty.
ALCOAST 449/13, Situation Report Two: U.S. Coast Guard Military Campaign for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, introduced members of the service to, among other matters, the findings of a series of 10 focus group discussions facilitated by the Commandant’s Leadership, Excellence, and Diversity Council’s Junior Council and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Military Campaign Office.
A Coast Guardsman charged with attempting to commit sexual abuse of a child, failure to obey a lawful order, indecent conduct with a child and possession of child pornography was sentenced by a military judge to seven years confinement, a bad conduct discharge, total forfeitures of all pay and allowances and reduction in pay grade to E-1. The general court-martial was held Oct. 4, 2013, at 17th Coast Guard District Headquarters in Juneau, Alaska.