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Hawaii Sailors Engage with Praxis to Fight Sexual Misconduct

04/14/17 12:00 AM

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Service members stationed throughout Hawaii attended nontraditional Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training at Sharkey Theater on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, April 11-13.

The training was conducted by the Pure Praxis theater group. The group is contracted by the Department of Navy Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (DON-SAPRO).

Dr. Jill Loftus, director of the DON-SAPRO, said the Department of Defense wanted to talk about retaliation, social ostracism and sexual assault.

"We wrote a new script and contracted with the group Pure Praxis," said Loftus. "It gives service members a chance to engage in this situation and practice techniques they can use to stop the behavior. A tennis player hits thousands of balls before they ever play their first game."

Rear Adm. John Fuller, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific opened the performance with a speech emphasizing the elimination of sexual assault/harassment and destructive behavior in and out of the military.

"Sexual harassment and sexual assault have absolutely no place in our military and are contrary to our core values," said Fuller. "These destructive behaviors have a direct and negative impact on unit cohesion and our ability to meet the mission. These destructive behaviors poison our trust and confidence in each other and in the team. Eliminating sexual assault requires more than words -- WE MUST ACT."

He said zero tolerance requires an all hands approach, centered on integrity, toughness, initiative and accountability.

"The CNO called all of us to action when it comes to doing the right thing. 'No bystanders,'" said Fuller. "I can assure you that you will inevitably find yourself in challenging situations. Today, in this place, we are giving you more and better tools so you know what to do and how to act when that next defining moment arrives," said Fuller.

During the performances the audience was immersed in the plot and was able to interact with the Pure Praxis actors by finding ways to intervene in defense of the victim. Following the performance, service members were informed about the different reporting options for a sexual assault or harassment mishap.

Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Zachary Gold, from Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Operations Center, said it was his first time seeing or hearing about Praxis and he was surprised how well the training was set up.

"I came here not expecting such a creative and informative performance for a topic as serious as is sexual assault and harassment," said Gold. "It really allowed us to be involved without taking away the seriousness of the issue. I definitely feel other service members should go to one of these trainings."

Pure Praxis uses performance education workshops to train and empower service members at military installations worldwide.

For more information and resources about SAPR training, please visit the SAPR website at www.sapr.mil/. 

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