SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) won first place in the third-annual Naval Base San Diego (NBSD) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Cup competition, April 21, at the NBSD Admiral Prout multi-purpose field.
Twenty-three commands from the San Diego region competed in 12 events including a cadence competition, five running events, tug-of-war, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, tire flip and trivia.
"It all started because we realized that we needed a little competition between the waterfront and the shore commands," said Kat Preston-Wager, one of four installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) for NBSD. "We also wanted to use this event to really honor what sexual assault survivors go through; struggling, challenges, hardships, while having that support from a team of people around them. This is definitely our largest event; I think we estimated almost 600 people [in attendance]. That's the most that we've ever had."
The large attendance made for an ideal situation to spread awareness of sexual assault in the Navy.
"The whole time during this track meet [event staff] offered different tips, talking about different statistics and they had a trivia portion," said Chief Culinary Specialist D.J. Johnson, a Boxer SAPR point of contact. "The friendly competition was a way to bring about camaraderie, but every single one of us today probably learned something different that we didn't know prior to today's event."
Boosting awareness and knowledge of available resources through events like SAPR cups helps the Navy foster a culture that is informed and ready to prevent and respond to sexual assault.
"With the spirit of the sport, the camaraderie and coming together and seeing other commands recognize each other as real Sailors and teammates, it definitely lets us know that we are one team, one fight, this is a big family," said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Upton J. Fisher, one of Boxer's runners in the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay races. "I met so many people today that I now consider friends. We bonded in a short period of time, but if I ever see them again I will greet them as my shipmate.
Though SAAPM is coming to an end, the Navy promotes the importance of continually building trust and camaraderie among shipmates.
"Yes, we have a designated month, April is SAAPM, to ensure that people really put focus on this, but I'd like to remind everybody that the reason that we're out here is because sexual assault is preventable and it starts with each individual treating everybody else with dignity and respect," said Preston-Wager. "Once we start changing that culture to ensure that we are treating each other with dignity and respect and that we're having consensual activity, we won't need a month anymore."
This year's SAAPM theme is "protecting our people protects our mission." For more information on the Navy's SAPR program visit http://www.navy.mil/local/sapr/
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/