This month, Secretary of the Navy Mabus hosted a Navy Sexual Assault Prevention Summit. At the summit, he noted the pervasive effects of sexual assault, stating "the effect on a survivor is devastating, but it's not just an individual travesty. Sexual assaults affect the survivor's family and friends. It's corrosive to morale and to our operational and combat readiness." SECNAV has rightfully focused us on a core Navy issue, at the very heart of who we are and what we represent.
One of my fundamental beliefs is that we should honor and respect those around us and treat others as we would want to be treated. A violation of this respect is a violation of the individual dignity we possess as human beings. We all know sexual assault is wrong - and a clear violation of individual dignity - yet it still is happening within our ranks. And when it happens, we find that victims often say they feel re-victimized as we pursue justice.
This is not an issue that will be solved simply by shouting louder or pounding the table harder because we already know it is wrong. So why are we not making sufficient progress in eliminating sexual assault in the Fleet, in our Navy? What I would like you to do - what I need you to do - is to take an honest look at this issue:
What do you think is the most effective way of ending sexual assault in our Navy? How do we keep from victimizing the victims when we pursue justice against those committing these crimes? What will you, as a Shipmate and a leader in your workspace, your ship, or your squadron, do to help eliminate sexual assault?