You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Navy stresses intervention to stop sex assaults

Dec. 20, 2012 - 09:29AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 - 09:29AM  |  
The Navy is showing a 40-minute video called "Take the Helm" as part of its sexual-assault prevention training for E-6 sailors and below.
The Navy is showing a 40-minute video called "Take the Helm" as part of its sexual-assault prevention training for E-6 sailors and below. (Navy)
  • Filed Under

DAM NECK, Va. There's a new movie coming to a command near you and if you're E-6 or below, you're required to see it.

  • Please enable JavaScript for your browser in order to use
Want to read more?
Current Subscribers
Access to Navy Times Prime is free for current Navy Times subscribers.
Log in
Haven't registered online?
Activate Account
New Subscribers
Start your subscription to Navy Times Prime for as little as 59¢ a week!

DAM NECK, Va. There's a new movie coming to a command near you and if you're E-6 or below, you're required to see it.

But before you start to groan about yet another military training class, you might just like this one.

It's called "Take the Helm," and it's 40 minutes long. It's also the centerpiece of the Navy's new Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Fleet, or SAPR-F, training.

There won't be a test, but the Navy's leadership hopes you'll talk about it.

"This is designed to be a two-way conversation with our sailors," said Capt. John Newcomer, commanding officer of the Navy's Center for Personal and Professional Development Command.

"It's a discussion that we hope will instill in our sailors trust and confidence that their command will act appropriately when presented with a sexual-assault report."

The scenario takes place on a fictitious destroyer the Rupert Wheeling but could happen, and probably has happened, at any command in the Navy. It was filmed on a real Navy destroyer with actors in the main roles and sailors serving as extras.

In the film's plot, a new female junior petty officer checks into her first sea command and a male first class takes an undue interest in her. Though their shipmates see problems, and peers and leaders try to step in, the situation deteriorates and tears apart friendships and work relationships. The plot has enough holes in it to prompt discussion in the class, which officials are hoping for.

The video begins and ends with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens discussing how serious sexual assault is, that it is a crime that can fracture commands. Each encourages sailors to get involved to prevent it.

The overarching theme of the training is bystander intervention: In other words, to get sailors to act when they see sexual harassment at their command. If sailors trust their commands to do the right thing, Newcomer said, they're more likely to intervene with their shipmates.

That's why, Newcomer said, the class is required to be given by an officer and chief team. The officer must be either an O-3 or 0-4 and the chief can be either an E-7 or E-8, but can't have more than 15 years of service.

"We are encouraging COs to pick their most dynamic people to lead this training," said Cmdr. Stuart Rivers. "The paygrade requirement is there to ensure these facilitators are closer in age to the E-6 and below they're interacting with but the key is that they be dynamic enough to be able to connect with their sailors and get them to speak openly and freely about this difficult subject matter."

The Navy reported 496 alleged incidents of sexual assault in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30. Of those, 397 were "blue on blue" cases involving only Navy personnel. More than half of all the reports involved alcohol.

Officials suggest that class sizes be limited to the department, division or work center levels with no more than 20 to 30 sailors to better foster communication.

As detailed in">NAVADMIN 336/12 released Nov. 14, everyone in the Navy, E-6 and below, must complete the training by March 31. Officials had originally hoped to have the training developed and delivered by Dec. 31, but there were delays in getting the content and instructors out to the fleet to train the command teams.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Go mustang
LDO and warrant careers offer more authority, a pay hike and big retirement payout

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook