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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 1, 2024

Step Forward. Prevent. Report. Advocate.

By Magnus Graham, Coast Guard SAPRR Program Coordinator

While April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), it's an important issue all year long. The Coast Guard aligns with the Department of Defense’s theme of “Step Forward. Prevent. Report. Advocate.” The theme is a call to action for individuals at all levels to use their personal strength to bolster prevention, increase reporting, and promote advocacy for a safer Coast Guard community.  

This year’s SAAPM campaign challenges everyone to do their part to advance positive change within our community. If you witness inappropriate behaviors, speak out and report it. Being a passive bystander is not okay and will not strengthen the culture that the Service needs to eliminate sexual assault. This will take a personal commitment from all. 

To support SAAPM, take another read on ALCOAST 120/24 which encourages commands to schedule Bystander Intervention Training (BIT) at the earliest opportunity. Bystander intervention is a strategy that motivates and mobilizes people who may see, hear, or otherwise recognize signs of an inappropriate or unsafe situation, to act. BIT provides basic education about bystander intervention and practical strategies to intervene safely. The benefit of BIT is that it can empower the total workforce to step up and act to stop harmful behaviors and boundary violations before they lead to a sexual assault.   

Besides offering BIT, the Coast Guard will hold numerous events and activities throughout SAAPM to continue the push to eliminate sexual assault. Some of the events include: 

  • Base National Captial Region is holding a SAAPM Proclamation ceremony on April 10.  
  • Coast Guard Academy is hosting a Take Back the Night March on April 25 where the campus community walks together in an evening of solidarity against sexual violence. 
  • Sector Delaware Bay is holding a SAAPM Walkathon event on April 17. 
  • TRACEN Petaluma is hosting a guest speaker on April 1 to speak on “Forge the Culture,” eliminating violence and destructive behaviors.    

For more information regarding SAAPM upcoming events or to schedule a BIT training, reach out to your District SARC.   

Mark your calendars for April 24 — when the Coast Guard will honor Denim Day. Every year on the last Wednesday of April, Denim Day is celebrated throughout the world as a day of action and awareness to combat victim blaming and educate others about sexual violence. This year the Coast Guard is encouraging Commands to participate where practicable by allowing members and employees to wear jeans and to encourage conversations about sexual assault prevention and response.   

The Coast Guard will continue to strive to change harmful behaviors, provide support and resources to victims of sexual assault, and encourage sexual assault prevention initiatives year-round. You too are part of the solution. You can: 

  • Step Forward to bolster awareness, 
  • Prevent harmful behaviors by being intolerant of disrespect, 
  • Report boundary violations, and  
  • Advocate for a safer Coast Guard community. 

Together, we can support survivors and change the way our communities respond to sexual violence. 


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