IWTC Monterey Concludes Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month With Flying Colors
By SN Aaron Reynolds, Center for Information Warfare Training
MONTEREY, CA - Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month (SAAPM) concluded April 26. at Information Warfare Training (IWTC) Monterey with the annual Teal Run onboard the Presidio of Monterey.
Hundreds of participants, among them officers and senior and junior enlisted service members from the Navy, Marines, Army, and Air Force, joined together alongside their friends and families to raise awareness about sexual assault and show their support for its prevention.
COL Gary M. Hausman (USA), the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center’s commandant, issued the opening remarks.
“We don’t tolerate sexual assault. It’s not wanted in our force…if anything, it will hurt the force,” said Hausman. He also encouraged the participants, “As you’re out running, having fun, remember the purpose of why we’re here. It’s for the awareness…to think about how we can help those victims and how we can prevent future assaults.”
Music and cheering encouraged all the participants to include a large number of staff and students from IWTC Monterey, as they ran the circuit around the Presidio of Monterey’s historic Soldier Field. A variety of powdered colors were thrown generously at their yellow Navy physical fitness and white “SAAPM” shirts that displayed the teal ribbon, a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention.
“It’s always fun getting out here with my fellow service members and my family,” said CTICS) David Jennings of IWTC Monterey, who participated in the run with his daughter.
“It’s important because year-round as professionals we all know that [sexual assault] is something that absolutely needs to be eliminated from the service. It’s important to take time out, whether it be a week or a day or a month every year to really focus on it and build some events around it that build resiliency and also build awareness, so that our warfighters can go out on the deck plates and spread that culture, spread that message, and make us ultimately more mission ready,” Jennings said.
SN Amanda Andrews, an IWTC Monterey student, also participated in the run. “It was very fun, and I think it’s for a very good cause,” she said. “I definitely think that sexual assault is a problem that exists, and I think it’s really important that we have events such as this in order to bring the proper awareness to it. I’ve really appreciated in my time here the amount of attention that has been brought towards that specific issue.”
The Teal Run ended a month full of events aimed at raising awareness towards sexual assault prevention. For IWTC Monterey, SAAPM officially began March 29, when CDR Michael Salehi, IWTC Monterey’s commanding officer, signed a proclamation at morning command quarters.
Another event observed this month was the Chalk Walk. For the entire month of April, the sidewalks outside IWTC Monterey’s administration building have been covered with messages, written by Sailors. Some included, “Enthusiastic consent is a must…Not in my Navy…Take a stand against sexual assault…Consent is not optional. Excuses are not applicable…Be the change…”
CTICS Virginia Soto, IWTC Monterey’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Coordinator, said that a big step in attacking this issue is simply bringing it forward and not being afraid to talk about it.
“The importance of the events supporting Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month is the more we talk about sexual assault prevention, the less taboo it becomes, and the more educated our force is about the topic,” Soto said. “The less taboo and the more educated we are about the topic we become, the end result is less sexual assault, more reporting, and knowledge of what to do and how to prevent it.”
The Consent is Cool event earlier in the month was aimed at increasing communication about sexual assault prevention. Tables full of freebies were set up during meal times in common spaces around the installation to act as an open forum for service members to engage in an open dialogue about the issue.
These events have built on training and initiatives in past years, from annual SAPR training, which keeps Sailors knowledgeable about reporting options, procedures, and responsibilities, to “Bystander Intervention” and “Full Speed Ahead” training and others.
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the U.S. and Japan, CIWT is recognized as Naval Education and Training Command’s top learning center for the past two years. Training over 21,000 students every year, CIWT delivers trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the Information Warfare community.