SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) — Sailors from Guam commands came together to participate in the Silent Witness March at the chapel on U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) April 24.
The march is one of several events scheduled this month to increase awareness and prevention of sexual assault. Lt. Matt Drayton, base chaplain, said it is important to recognize that sexual assault exists.
“We also need to say to those who are victimized you are not forgotten, and I think that was what today was about, and for those who came that is what we walked for.”
NBG Commanding Officer Capt. Mike Ward shared Drayton’s sentiments and added that similar events promote awareness about sexual assault and the need to prevent it from occurring.
“We influence people in countless numbers every time we do events like this march, the No Zebras, No Excuses live performance and the captain’s call,” he said. “This is all part of the process of eliminating sexual assault out of our Navy. There is no tolerance for it.”
Ward said the Sailors who supported the event are empowering their shipmates who also take a stand against sexual assault.
“The 99 percent who will never accept sexual assault, we are empowering them to help eliminate the 1 percent or less of those that are doing the crimes from our ranks,” Ward said.
Participants met 6 a.m. at the chapel where they marched around the facility with teal silhouettes carved in the shape of sexual assault victims as a tribute.
Yeoman Seaman Akeem Williams, of NBG, attended the event to show his support.
“The silent walk was pretty moving,” he said. “It was necessary for us Sailors to take this time in our morning to reflect and ponder upon the things that sexual assault victims go through.”
In regards to the base’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, Williams said he was pleased with the support and services offered to service members.
“They really care for you,” he said. “They’re out to do their job and they are really dedicated to help you out with whatever you really need.”
The SAPR program is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working to aggressively prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims and to hold offenders accountable.