CNO on SAPR: "Jackassery" OUT, dignity and respect IN

Official U.S. Navy file photo of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

CNO on SAPR: "Jackassery" OUT, dignity and respect IN

by: MC1 Elliott Fabrizio | .
Chief of Naval Personnel PAO | .
published: September 02, 2015

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert recently discussed the progress and future challenges of the Navy's Sexual Assault and Prevention Response (SAPR) Program.

CNO discussed SAPR on the Weekly Wire Rundown, an informational video blog produced by the Office of Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP), and the full video can be viewed here: link.

Greenert is set to retire next month after four years as CNO and began the conversation by outlining the progress the Navy has made in SAPR.

"We've gone from denying-'we don't really have this problem, do we?' or 'it's somebody else's problem' -to, frankly, a wide awakening: We have a problem," said Greenert.

In 2013, the Navy established the 21st Century Sailor Office, to support the CNO's tenets, primarily "Be Ready," by building Sailor resilience and taking overall responsibility for the Navy's SAPR program.

Greenert said the office has succeeded in implementing a myriad of new initiatives, such as the Victims' Legal Counsel (VLC) Program and other command advocacy programs and positions that have become the Navy's "tools" in combating sexual assault.

"We have the tools," Greenert added. "Now it's time to get into execution. Let's make the victim the survivor."

One positive sign Greenert noted is that more women are coming forward to report being the victim of sexual assault, up from one out of ten in 2012 to one in three today.

Greenert said this indicates confidence in the chain of command to properly handle these sensitive cases.

Overall, the Navy has experienced a decline in the prevalence of unwanted sexual contact by one third from 2012 to 2014.

Many challenges remain, however, with as few as one in twelve men coming forward to report sexual assault and a growing need to define and prevent retaliation.

"We have to be conscious that what we may feel is not retaliation is in fact retaliation to the victim, to the survivor," said Greenert. "We've got to be clear on what retaliation is and what could be perceived as retaliation to the victim, to the survivor."

The CNO said he believes the Navy's next step in eliminating the issue of sexual assault is creating a culture of dignity and respect that penetrates down to the Navy's microclimates-the individual work centers.

"No more of the sexist jokes," said Greenert. "No sexual harassment. That's out. We've got to get down to that deckplate level and say, 'hey look, I'm just not going to tolerate this anymore.' That's how we did it with racism. That's how we did it with drugs, and I think that's how we're going to get by this challenge."

This year, the 21st Century Sailor released the  Navy's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan and an update to the Navy SAPR policy.

The strategic plan describes sexual assault as a crime that erodes warfighting capacity and charges every Sailor with the responsibility of eradicating it.

"We don't have time for what some call 'jackassery'," said Greenert in closing. "We are a serious business. We need dignity, respect and trust, so that we can get out there and do the job that we need to do. It's a difficult task enough."

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