NORFOLK, Va. –
Chalk it up to education, empathy and empowerment.
Commander, Naval Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC) held its annual “Chalk The Walk” event in recognition of April, designated as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM).
The colorful, eye-catching, hand-drawn exhibit showcased the command’s commitment to SAAPM on 11 April, 2023.
“We want everyone to see this before they come into the building and as they’re leaving. This is our way of reminding everyone of the importance of sexual assault awareness and prevention,” said Yeoman Second Class Marytere Corton-Oquendo, a CNRFC Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocate (VA). “The SAPR program is willing to be there for everyone, and this is just one example of the support we can provide for any victim of sexual assault or harassment.”
The event, specifically designed to draw attention to the SAAPM theme of ‘Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission,' included sketches, diagrams, graphics, statistics and words of encouragement covering the sidewalks leading up to the command.
Some of the chalked display included messages such as ‘Protect our People, Protect our Mission,’ ‘No Means No,’ ‘Know your Part, Do Your Part,’ and the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner ‘SAFE’ Helpline 877-995-5247.
According to Chief Yeoman Cedric Foster, CNRFC’s SAPR Administrative VA, the “Chalk the Walk” event is only the beginning of the upcoming SAPR events that will span the entire month to continuously remind staff of sexual awareness and prevention, as well as promote awareness of SAPR program resources, and continue the focus on the goal of eliminating sexual assault occurrences within the Department of Defense.
Along with the “Chalk the Walk” display, CNRFC’s SAPR team has also set up informational tables throughout the building manned by the command’s victim advocates to engage with servicemembers and staff where they are able to write words of encouragement on cutouts and place them on office doors throughout the building.
The SAPR team organized a clothing drive for sexual assault victims, a decorated t-shirt display lining the building called “Spoken T-shirt”, a “Carry the Weight” event where Sailors wear 1.5-pound sandbags to symbolize the weight survivors carry around after an assault, a poetry slam and a “Denim Walk” in which volunteers will wear denim and walk around base.
CNRFC’s SAPR program provides a balance of focused education, comprehensive response, compassionate advocacy, and just adjudication in order to promote professionalism, respect, and trust, while preserving Navy mission readiness. There are also comprehensive programs that reinforce a culture of prevention, response, and accountability for the safety, dignity, and well-being of Sailors and Marines.
The Department of the Navy does not tolerate sexual assault.
On a regular basis, CNRFC ensures that sexual assault education is provided to every Sailor. There is also a photo board on every floor and every restroom throughout the building displaying the command’s victim advocates, so staff as well as beneficiaries are aware of who they can turn to in case they have questions or need help.
Additionally, throughout the entire building, Foster and his team have added informational posters, so everyone knows where to turn for increased professional help if needed.
There’s even a colorful visual handiwork display outside helping to spread the word. One chalk mark at a time.