ASAN, Guam—Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, commander of Joint Region Marianas, joined Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero last April 8 to declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month during a joint proclamation signing at the Guam Community College in Mangilao.
The annual observance calls to end sexual violence and its harmful impact on the community, the island and the military’s mission and readiness.
While the military focuses on the awareness and prevention of sexual assault through various programs, Chatfield discussed the importance of ensuring victims are cared for after their tribulation.
“I’ve learned that I need to place more attention on training my workforce, not just about the how to report a crime but that I need to spend even more time to prepare my workforce to make the workplace a place where a person is not re-victimized,” she said. “I’m very pleased on behalf of the Department of Defense here [in] Guam to commit our resources and our support for the victims of sexual assault.”
The admiral also explained the military’s restricted and unrestricted lines of reporting that provide victims the opportunity to receive treatment and determine if an investigation will be open.
In fiscal year 2017, 5,277 service members filed reports of sexual assault for an incident that occurred sometime during military service, an increase of 10 percent from fiscal year 2016.
In her remarks, Leon Guerrero thanked the military for their partnership and encouraged all members of the community to take part in sexual assault prevention.
“We need to make sure we strengthen our force so we can minimize this God-awful crime against our people and our community,” she said. “As governor of Guam, I am very honored to proclaim this month and make the commitment to work together to prevent sexual abuse.” (PR)