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.
I’ve been working with the Coast Guard almost my whole adult life and now my daughter also works for the Coast Guard. As part of the Coast Guard family, I maintain a unique bond with active duty members as I support them in performing the Coast Guard’s challenging maritime missions. I am a civilian. I am a shipmate. As a shipmate, I often ask myself, “What makes a good shipmate?” When it comes to sexual assault prevention and response, being a shipmate is about staying informed and taking action.
If you were at a Coast Guard unit yesterday you may have wondered why Coast Guard chiefs were walking around in their dress uniforms in the middle of the week. Good. That is just the conversation starter we wanted when we created Service Dress Blue Day. April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in the Coast Guard and, as chiefs, we wanted to send a very strong message to all Coast Guardsmen that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our Coast Guard.
The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and throughout the month Coast Guard Compass will highlight first-person accounts from men and women of the Coast Guard who are taking a stand against the crime of sexual assault. Our first account comes from Master Chief Petty Officer Devin R. Spencer, officer-in-charge of Station San Francisco, whose experience has taught him “It all starts at the top.”
Coast Guard Compass asked Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, to share his thoughts on the new Safe Helpline initiative that provides support to adult active duty and reserve members of the armed services and the National Guard. As Sexual Assault Awareness month comes to a close, preventing sexual assault remains everyone’s duty.
As with many afloat units, it can be easy to get to know your shipmates when you live and work in such close proximity. It was because of this proximity that I embraced the role of a victim advocate and strived to know every member of the crew, along with my personal goal of being the type of person my shipmates felt comfortable going to when they needed help – job related or otherwise.
Throughout the month of April, Coast Guard Compass is highlighting the service’s efforts in sexual assault prevention and response as well as introducing you to members of the Service who dedicate themselves to supporting their shipmates and community. Tiffani Collier is the sexual assault response coordinator for more than 40 units in the southern California
We are steadfast in our resolve to truly make the Service a zero tolerance environment for sexual assault. As shipmates, each and every person in the Coast Guard has a shared responsibility to make this change. We will not stand by when one of our shipmates has fallen victim to sexual assault nor will we serve in silence with someone who has committed a crime against another.
As we wrap up our series in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, guest blogger Dr. Patrick McGann offers up a frank assessment of the Coast Guard’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence from our service and reminds us that creating a culture of prevention is an all hands evolution that never ends. McGann is the
As we enter the third week of our blog series in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month we asked two cadets at the Coast Guard Academy (CGA) to share their perspectives on how the future leaders of the Coast Guard are tackling the issue of sexual assault in a college campus setting while preparing to