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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 6, 2023

Leading for a safe climate 

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM). While the Coast Guard emphasizes it this month, awareness and proactively preventing sexual assault needs to be a year-round effort.  

This also is an ideal time to discuss the continued need for Coast Guard leaders to embrace their role in fostering a climate of inclusion – one that is free from harassment and retaliation.  

One of the greatest responsibilities a leader can hold is that of taking care of their members’ well-being. The Coast Guard leaders must ensure the safety, well-being, morale, and readiness of their service members, civilians, and family members. A culture of safety and respect creates cohesive units, where members support one another at work and at home.   

Dr. Donna (Mischell) Navarro, Coast Guard’s Acting Assistant Commandant for Human Resources, values strong leadership to sustain sexual assault awareness. “All members deserve the right to feel safe, welcome, and respected in the workplace. That is foundational to being mission ready,” she said. “Coast Guard leaders at all levels need to take positive action in support of sexual assault awareness and prevention.” 

The importance of leadership’s role in Sexual Assault Prevention, Response, and Recovery (SAPRR) is especially important following a report of sexual violence. The Coast Guard could have the best SAPRR policy, programs, and practices in place; however, without committed, engaged leaders at all levels, the program fails.  

What can you do to improve the culture in your area of responsibility?  How can you use your influence for good, inspiring the next generation of caring, team-oriented members who are committed to the Coast Guard’s mission? Take a moment to reflect on the trickle-down impact of your words and actions when it comes to the perception of tolerance toward sexual harassment and assault. You can make a difference TODAY. 

If you would like more information as a leader, victim, friend, family member, or potential victim advocate, please visit the Sexual Assault Prevention Response and Recovery (SAPRR) Program website or email

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