The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and throughout the month Coast Guard Compass will highlight first-person accounts from men and women of the Coast Guard who are taking a stand against the crime of sexual assault. This week’s account is a joint piece from a Coast Guard investigative service special agent and a staff attorney.
Our core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty define who we are as the United States Coast Guard. A company commander’s primary mission in recruit training is to instill these values in the hearts and minds of every recruit along their journey to becoming a Coast Guardsman. Sexual assault is incompatible with our core values and, therefore, who we are as Coast Guardsmen. It is my goal to foster a culture of prevention, awareness and accountability in every recruit entrusted to my care. At the very root of this goal are our core values. Here’s my definition of how each one applies to sexual assault prevention.
I’ve been working with the Coast Guard almost my whole adult life and now my daughter also works for the Coast Guard. As part of the Coast Guard family, I maintain a unique bond with active duty members as I support them in performing the Coast Guard’s challenging maritime missions. I am a civilian. I am a shipmate. As a shipmate, I often ask myself, “What makes a good shipmate?” When it comes to sexual assault prevention and response, being a shipmate is about staying informed and taking action.
If you were at a Coast Guard unit yesterday you may have wondered why Coast Guard chiefs were walking around in their dress uniforms in the middle of the week. Good. That is just the conversation starter we wanted when we created Service Dress Blue Day. April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in the Coast Guard and, as chiefs, we wanted to send a very strong message to all Coast Guardsmen that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our Coast Guard.
The month of April is designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and throughout the month Coast Guard Compass will highlight first-person accounts from men and women of the Coast Guard who are taking a stand against the crime of sexual assault. Our first account comes from Master Chief Petty Officer Devin R. Spencer, officer-in-charge of Station San Francisco, whose experience has taught him “It all starts at the top.”