As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Department of Defense launched a new social marketing campaign today called Our Strength is for Defending. This research-based prevention strategy is designed to empower service members to intervene in situations where possible sexual assaults may occur.
“We want to capitalize on the strength of our men and women in uniform to ensure they know how to safely intervene in situations to prevent this horrible crime,” said Kaye Whitley, director, sexual assault prevention and response office.
The campaign’s informational materials and public service announcements address topics such as active bystander intervention; crime reporting: supportive behavior for victims of sexual assault; and services provided by sexual assault response coordinators and victim advocates within each of the armed forces. The campaign was developed with the assistance of Men Can Stop Rape, an organization that has successfully deployed sexual assault prevention programs throughout the United States and several countries.
“Although we are rolling out this campaign during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, our goal is to continue to push hard on these messages throughout the year. Prevention requires everyone to be alert 24 hours a day. We need service members to be constantly on guard to protect their friends and co-workers, both on and off the battlefield,” said Whitley.
This will be the department’s fifth year directly participating in this important national event. Special events will be held throughout the month by all of the armed forces in an effort to promote awareness of the strategy and to highlight the department’s efforts to ensure all service members understand their role in preventing sexual assault.
Into an already-full training calendar we will most assuredly see THIS forced in. Likely at the cost of something more crucial to success on the battlefield. Certainly it won’t replace Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Equal Opportunity lectures, TQL, etc.
The terrible irony is that proper “active bystander intervention”, such as cracking the skull of said perp, will get the bystander into career-threatening trouble.
Meanwhile, the enemy, untrained at such things, will still try to kill us. Perhaps we can eventually come up with a “Battlefield Survival Awareness Month”, and “push hard on these messages throughout the year”. Perhaps.