Teamwork to fighting sexual assault
A tug-of-war contest among the various commands to conclude Sexual Assault Awareness Month at Naval Air Station Fallon on Wednesday placed a spotlight on teamwork to bring more focus on the the theme.
“The beginning of the month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, was a call for action on NAS Fallon to get the word out to destroy the shameful feelings, bury the fear and raise the truth about the facts of sexual assaut,” said Jeannette Casillas, sexual assault regional coordinator, in prepared remarks delivered to an audience of more than 100 at the air station’s football field. “As a base we committed ourselves to raising awareness, education and expanding support of victims while informing our sailors and families of how real sexual assault is and how often it occurs.”
During the month Casillas said the base sponsored many activities to bring more awareness to sexual assault, a problem all military services are facing. In March, Capt. Leif Steinbaugh, commander of NAS Fallon, signed a proclamation declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and a 5K run was held with more than 150 runners participating. Furthermore, Casillas said the Clothesline Project Tree honoring the victims and survivors as a silent exhibit of self-expression was displayed at the base’s chapel.
Additionally, NAS Fallon sailors and civilians at both the base in in Fallon wore denim on April 23 to recognize a decision that was overturned because of young victim of sexual assault was wearing a pair of jeans.
”As a SAPR (sexual assault prevention and response) program along with our military community, we challenged the harmful myths associated by sexual assault while organizing to make our naval installation safer from sexual assalt,” Casillas said.
Command Master Chief Bobby Anderson said sailors and commanders must be vigilant in preventing sexual assault.
“This very sexual assault awareness mostly teaches us to be alert, aware and in control to what we know as leaders,” he said.
He said when a sexual assault occurs, it not only affects the victim but also the person’s family and others around them such as friends or co-workers.
Cmdr. Gene Woodruff, NAS Fallon’s executive officer, emphasized several times during his remarks that sexual assault must be stomped out.
“It’s important in our lives as sailors or family members to stop sexual assault,” he said.
Woodruff applauded the number of people and organizations involved with the activities associated with Sexual Assault Awareness Month and said one visiting carier air wing offered is full suport and participated in the activities. Woodruff also commended those who donate their time to help.
“Civilians and sailors volunteer to endure victims and family members have advocacy help,” he added.
He said the air station’s command is dedicated to raising the awareness, and the goal to have “zero sexual assaults.”
Before the ceremony closes, Casillas recognized the winner of the tug-of-war, the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, and he individuals who performed the most sit-ups and pushups: CS2 Shaneris Stevens and Trevor de Braga.
“Although today marks the closing of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we ask that you all keep the light of hope shining for the silenced victims who will have a lifetime of working to reclaim a life once known before the sexual assault,” Casillas said.