Some potentially positive news from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program: The 2016 Workplace Gender Relations Survey of active duty members reported a 22.5 percent decrease in the amount of restricted reports and a 15.4 percent decrease in the amount of unrestricted reports of sexual assault made by women in the Coast Guard between 2014 and 2016. The number of reports made by men remained fairly unchanged.
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.