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Campaign to Prevent Sexual Assault

Commandant: We Aim to Be A Culture Free of Sexual Assault

Tue, 04 Jun 13  

The U.S. Coast Guard intends to eliminate sexual assault as well as behaviors that enable it, announced Admiral Bob Papp, commandant.

Admiral Papp Admiral Papp

"To execute the diverse, challenging and often hazardous missions of the Coast Guard," the commandant said, "we must all share a strong bond of trust and mutual respect. Without both, discipline erodes, mission readiness is degraded and the performance of our people is diminished. Sexual assault is a crime. Commission of this act is a breach of trust, violation of our core values and, therefore, must be eliminated from our Service. The presence of sexual predators in our midst is unacceptable. The Coast Guard will establish an effective program of prevention, response, accountability of offenders and unqualified support for victims without fear of stigma."

Commander Podoll
CDR Podoll

CDR Nathan Podoll, director of the Auxiliary for the 9th Coast Guard District, noted that sexual assault prevention was "an ALL hands on deck" effort.

"There are no bystanders," Commander Podoll said. "With the Auxiliary's life experience, we need your support at all levels, especially at local units, to create a culture which is intolerant of sexual harassment and assault."

Admiral Papp issued the following directive:

  • Create a culture intolerant of sexual assault or behaviors that enable it. Ensure that every man and woman in the Coast Guard, including active, reserve and civilian and auxilarist, is clear regarding expectations. Our goal is to eliminate the commission of these acts. There are no bystanders in this effort, I expect all-hands commitment.
  • Prevent sexual assault including unwelcomed sexual contact. Rapidly transform our Service climate to ensure that every Coast Guardsman takes ownership of this problem, recognizing their duty to stop sexual assault before it occurs. Enhance training so that all hands recognize indicators of this behavior and are prepared to intervene.
  • Improve the availability and quality of response resources and trusted peer networks. Establish an environment that, when an assault is committed, victims come forward to report the offense with confidence, trusting that they will be protected and cared for without fear of reprisal or retaliation. Strengthen the program of victim advocacy extending throughout the process.
  • Hold anyone who commits the crime of sexual assault accountable. Improve reporting, investigative and prosecution processes to ensure timely outcomes. Ensure objectivity and full accountability as an effective deterrent.
  • Establish a program for victim advocacy and aftercare.

The commandant noted that the vice commandant would personally oversee execution of his "Commanders Intent."

"The Deputy Commandant for Mission Support will act as executive agent for implementation of the Coast Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) strategic plan and follow-on actions. Leaders at all levels will gain full knowledge of the scope of this problem and Service strategies for eliminating sexual assault from the Coast Guard. Individual leaders are responsible for demonstrated commitment. I expect every Coast Guardsman to display the same level of dedication and courage executing this intent that they would on a lifesaving mission - that is, in fact, what this is all about."

Each command, Admiral Papp added, will ensure that this Commanders Intent is read and discussed with all hands.