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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Pendleton observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca | | April 30, 2012

 In response to the devastating effects caused by sexual assaults throughout the country, Camp Pendleton, along with the nation, is observing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Camp Pendleton’s goal for SAAM is to inform Marines and families of the resources and programs available to help prevent sexual assaults and to assist those affected by sexual assault.

According to Hollie D. Kelly, the sexual assault response coordinator for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps is scheduled to complete a “by-stander intervention” called “take a stand” by Sept. 30, 2012. By-stander intervention is interactive training, which uses videos and discussion conducted by the Uniform Victim Advocate, designed for all of the Marine Corps’ non-commissioned officers. “This training provides tools to help NCOs safely intervene and prevent sexual assault”, Kelly said.

According to sexual assault resources from Marine Corps Community Services, “Sexual assault is a crime defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, threat, intimidation, abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commit these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or age of victim.”

Victims of sexual assault have the option to report two different ways; restricted and unrestricted reporting.

Restricted reporting allows victims of sexual assault to report to an authority figure without triggering a formal report to Provost Marshals Office, Naval Criminal Investigative Services, the chain of command or any law enforcement, said Kelly.

“Restricted reporting also protects the victim’s identity and, except in the rarest of instances, assures confidentiality”, said Kelly. “UVA, Civilian Victim Advocates, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, Marine and Family Service Counselors, health care providers and chaplains have confidentiality. All other military members are required to report sexual assaults to law enforcement and their command.” Kelly explained, UVAs and SARCs can explain the exceptions to confidentiality. Under California state law, medical personnel are required to report sexual assaults to law enforcement.

“Unrestricted reporting allows victims of sexual assault to receive appropriate medical treatment, victim advocacy, and counseling services”, said Kelly. “Unrestricted reporting also informs the victim’s chain of command, affords maximum protection of the victim from his or her offender and ensures a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the assault in order to hold offenders accountable for their criminal conduct. In order to make a fully informed choice about your reporting options and the advantages and disadvantages of both, speak with your nearest UVA”.

There are several resources that your UVA will make you aware of including the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, local rape crisis centers and others, Kelly continued to explain.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, there are many options to seek help. Counseling services are available in the Marine and Family Services offices located on Mainside (11 Area) 760-725-9051 and Camp Horno 760-763-6940. Help is available online through Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.com or call 800-342-9647, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Help Line 24/7 at 760-500-1707 or visit www.usmc-mccs.org/sapro, National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673). In the event of an emergency, contact the PMO at 760-725-3888.