Lianne Casupang received the Liz Blanc Exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Award May 17, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. As the Coast Guard's 14th District Sexual Response Coordinator (SARC), Casupang was recognized for her exceptional work from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2021. Every year the Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes one person from each service whose work in the sexual assault and prevention program proves to be particularly noteworthy, demonstrating outstanding service in support of service members.
As someone who does not search for the spotlight herself, Casupang says this is an award not just for her, but for everyone involved in the SAPRR program.
“For the SAPPR world, any award I win, it is for the [victim advocates] and the other SARCs who are also winning it,” she said. “I definitely could not do my job without the support of the D14 commands, the Special Victims’ Counsel team, CGIS, legal, all of my colleagues at WorkLife.”
As the 14th District’s SARC, Casupang is responsible for the largest geographical district in the Coast Guard with 35 units spanning five time zones, spanning more than 12 million square miles that include Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Japan, Saipan, and Singapore. She supports 1,650 active duty, reserve, and auxiliarist members within her area of responsibility.
Starting out as the D14 Family Advocacy Specialist in 2011, Casupang moved into the role of SARC in 2018. As the SARC, she felt she could use her experience and her training to better help those who needed her.
As a National Certified Counselor and a licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Hawaii, Casupang understands – and will happily discuss with anyone who will listen – about how the brain functions following a trauma and through the healing process. She says this knowledge and understanding is important to understand when we help victims process and heal from the trauma they have experienced.
“The Coast Guard’s SAPRR Program is based on recovery. We need to understand how the brain reacts to trauma, and we need to know how trauma manifests so that we can help with the healing process,” Casupang said.
Casupang went on to explain the importance of approaching sexual violence through a prevention lens that is more relatable to the workforce.
Living ALOHA, the program Casupang received recognition for, was inspired and conceptualized with prevention, healing, and recovery in mind.
Living ALOHA means:
A - Appropriate Behaviors – what are and what are not healthy behaviors?
L - Leadership and Intervention
O- Options to Report – restricted and unrestricted
H - Healthy Environments – once appropriate behaviors are in place, we should have healthy environments
A – Accountability – bystander intervention, what it looks like and how to do it.
“It started in 2020 – right when COVID hit,” she said. “We took the idea of the continuum of harm and expanded on that. If people don’t know what inappropriate behaviors look like, how we can stop the behavior?” Casupang and her team drafted language from a positive prevention point of view rather than a negative stance. “Rather than saying ‘don’t do this,’ instead [we say] ‘do this.’ It [is] important to get everyone in the Coast Guard to understand what bystander intervention is and what it looks like, how to intervene when needed.”
Starting in January 2020, every other week she would meet virtually with the district VAs to talk about trends in their community and what needed to be addressed. “In Hawaii we live Aloha. We took that idea, along with what we were talking about and streamlined our training module into five points that amplify ALOHA.”
Under Casupang, the team continued this training into 2021, ultimately training more than 850 members throughout the 14 District’s area of responsibility. Learning from their training experience, Casupang and her team expanded the existing training to focus on appropriate behaviors, respect for one another, and living the service’s Core Values.
“I want to expand on skill building, how to address certain behaviors and how to talk with your command, and work through a situation if one should come up,” Casupang said. “I also plan on taking the focus a little further such as being civil, remembering what our parents taught us about being respectful. Then really breaking down what behaviors look like that fall under Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. What behaviors demonstrate those service Core Values.”
Following each training, Casupang likes to leave everyone with a souvenir – a laminated card reminding everyone to Live ALOHA. The souvenir acts as a tangible reminder of what was discussed in the Living ALOHA training.
Congratulations, Lianne! A well-deserved recognition. Mahalo for your dedication to the Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Recovery program.
Lianne Casupang wanted to make sure that her team in D14 was appropriately highlighted as well as all of the support she received from the Coast Guard Headquarters SAPRR program and the service center.
Sexual Assault Prevention Response & Recovery (SAPRR) website