Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aime Lykins
BANGOR, Washington – Approximately 800 Sailors assigned to USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) participated in a Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) challenge alongside Sailors from commands throughout the Kitsap peninsula at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK)- Bangor April 28.

The event, designed to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it, was hosted by NBK Fleet and Family Support Center’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program and was open to everyone with base access.

“This challenge is the culmination of all the awareness events we’ve held over the past month,” said Senior Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Matthew Bishop from Grand Harris,
California, one of John C. Stennis’ command SAPR coordinators. “I’ve personally seen a surge of interest from the crew about becoming VAs [victim advocates] and I attribute that to all those who helped raise awareness here on the ship.”

The challenge kicked off with a 5K fun run, after which service members rotated through events to learn about challenges and obstacles a victim of sexual assault may have when reporting an assault. The obstacles were all based on general military training talking points and satisfied the DOD 2017 SAPR training requirements.

“I’m really happy with the turn out and the quality of the training being presented,” said Candy Cardinal, a NBK SAPR team member and VA for the region. “This training is so valuable and important, so we are glad to be able to present it in an interactive and memorable way.” Members from John C. Stennis’ associations, including the wardroom, Chief Petty Officer Association, Second Class Petty Officer Association, Junior Enlisted Association, Gay and Lesbian and Supporting Sailors, and Multi-Cultural Heritage Committee volunteered at the event and helped fund the regional campaign efforts.

“The whole month has been great in terms of raising awareness, which was our main goal and I believe we achieved that,” said Bishop. “We started the planning [SAPR events for the ship] in February and with weekly events during April, I think we made contact with at least seven-eighths of the crew.”

Bishop reported that John C. Stennis organizations contributed approximately $3,300 and 35 volunteers for the Navy Region Northwest 2017 SAPR campaign.

John C. Stennis is conducting a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility, during which the ship is undergoing scheduled maintenance and upgrades.

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