By MC1 Omari K. Way, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs
HONOLULU — The Honolulu City Council and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a proclamation ceremony March 24 in the Honolulu Hale City Council chambers. The event declared the month of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month,
Top military officials from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Hawaii National Guard, and advocates from the Hawaii Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Sex Abuse Treatment Center of Hawaii, attended the event.
It closely followed the announcement of the DoD 2015 Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) theme, “Eliminate Sexual Assault: Know Your Part. Do Your Part,” released earlier this month.
There were no military remarks made during the ceremony. However, Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, previously addressed the urgency of working together to end sexual assaults.
“Sexual assault is a major crime that can tear apart commands wherever it occurs,” Williams said.
“Ending sexual assaults will increase our readiness and resilience as we become a fit team, improve coordination, and generate important warfighting readiness.”
City Councilwoman Carol Fukanaga, Chairman Ernest Martin and Caldwell talked about community, commitment and teamwork throughout the presentation.
“The City and County of Honolulu is proud to stand together with the state and our armed forces in raising awareness of sexual assault,” said Caldwell.
“Eliminating this intolerable form of abuse from our island takes a collaborative effort from us all, and it begins with spreading awareness. We are determined to see this through and foster a culture where sexual assault is not accepted anywhere,” he said.
“Today’s event is another way our community is reinforcing its collective commitment to combat sexual violence within our society,” Martin said.
Then he thanked a list of distinguished guests that included Williams, who accepted the city council certificate and proclamation on behalf of the CNRH Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.
“It was a real honor to be a part of this important and collaborative effort with the City and County of Honolulu at the signing of this SAPR proclamation event. Annually, April has been established to recognize and provide additional awareness to Navy personnel concerning this issue,” said J. Curtis Gilland, regional program director and SAPR team supervisor.
“However, with the continual support of the mayor and his councilmen, not only will Navy personnel be made aware, but the entire city of Honolulu will be able to see our combined efforts concerning SAPR,” he said.
Regarding the strategy ahead, Williams said, “When it comes to sexual assaults, we must honor our shipmates by looking out for one another. We must have the courage to act, intervene and report.
“And we must have the commitment to support those who have been assaulted,” he said.
For more information about organizing SAAPM events and resources for victims of sexual assault, visit www.sapr.navy.mil.