Preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty!

Posted by Cmdr. Glynn Smith on behalf of Coast Guard Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara.

Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara

Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Upon taking command of the Coast Guard, Admiral Papp articulated his four guiding principles, of which one challenged all of us to respect our Shipmates. Doing so means that preventing sexual assault is everyone’s duty. Last week, the Coast Guard announced the formation of a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force. This task force, under the leadership of Vice Adm. John Currier, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Michael P. Leavitt, will forge the way ahead in overseeing enhancements to the Coast Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program.

We are steadfast in our resolve to truly make the Service a zero tolerance environment for sexual assault. As shipmates, each and every person in the Coast Guard has a shared responsibility to make this change. We will not stand by when one of our shipmates has fallen victim to sexual assault nor will we serve in silence with someone who has committed a crime against another. The Coast Guard is working to create a culture where our entire workforce understands that sexual assault is a crime and will tolerate nothing short of respect for their fellow shipmates.

We stand beside our shipmatesApril is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is a crime that is not compatible with the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty, and this month serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of this crime against our shipmates, share ways all hands can support survivors of sexual assaults and collectively work to put an end to sexual assaults.

Sexual assault has the potential to ruin lives and negatively impacts mission readiness in the Coast Guard. We all have a duty to act when it comes to protecting our shipmates and preventing sexual assaults, and in ensuring mission readiness to protect those we serve.

The Coast Guard stands with the Department of Defense and the whole of government in the effort to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual assault across the country. Everyone connected to our Service has a role to play in stepping forward to stop sexual assault. One person can make a difference by becoming an active bystander and preventing a sexual assault from taking place.

Throughout the month of April, Coast Guard Compass will introduce you to several members of the Service who are a testament that each and every shipmate can, and should, be a leader in preventing sexual assault both in our Service and the communities where we live and serve.

Semper Paratus,
Vice Admiral Sally Brice-O’Hara, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard

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