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My Coast Guard
Commentary | March 26, 2021

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month.

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), the Coast Guard is encouraging activities to promote prevention awareness throughout our organization. Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) will be at the helm of coordinating events for each district throughout April, or throughout the fiscal year. 

“It’s important to keep the conversation going regarding prevention. If people are not aware or talking about prevention of sexual violence, then it’s as if the problem does not exist,” said Andrea Mckie, the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention Response and Recovery (SAPRR) program specialist. “We have to talk about prevention in a manner that addresses all the behaviors that contribute to this crime.”

Although activities will vary at each command, everyone will have access to two SAPRR Program videos that will be launched in April called, Confide in Another and Consent Confide in Another will be focused on the Coast Guard’s recent policy amendment allowing victims of sexual assault to confide in another, under certain conditions, without losing their restricted reporting options. This adds another layer of comfort to trauma survivors by reducing barriers and increasing support and care. Leaders are encouraged to discuss the videos content with all Coast Guard members. 

Additional suggestions include the following and their details can be found within the April 2021 is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) ALCOAST 117/21

  • Align events with DOD’s Assault Prevention and Response Office’s Theme for 2019-2021 “Protecting our People Protects our Mission.”
  • Coast Guard’s Bystander Intervention Training (BIT) - a 90-minute interactive educational experience that engages participants to learn to intervene safely on another’s behalf.
  • Recovery Awareness within SAAPM Activities – recovery awareness information will be incorporated into local SAAPM activities. Dialogue and resources aligned to recovery promotes the Coast Guard’s commitment to  helping persons who have been victimized return to wellness. The videos mentioned above are part of this effort.

McKie summarizes a major intent of SAAPM and the efforts of the SAPRR office stating, “We are taking care of victims while preventing more victims from being made.”

All units are encouraged to contact your local SARC for all SAAPM related events and issues. For all general questions regarding SAAPM, Coast Guard BIT, contact the HSWL-SC, SAPRR program coordinator, Magnus Graham or Andrea McKie, SAPRR specialist.