Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) advocates from several commands on island came together to celebrate the Day of Action at Gab Gab Beach on U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) April 6.

According to Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Coordinator Evangeline Cabacar, the event provided an opportunity for prevention advocates to engage in their communities.

“The SAAM Day of Action is observed on the first week of the month,” she said. “It is nationally recognized in the United States as a specific day to focus awareness on sexual violence prevention. Our goal is to create or find every avenue possible to promote prevention awareness/education during SAAM.”

Cabacar said the day was meant for advocates to unwind as they prepare for the month’s events.

“Because much of our time and energy has been (spent) planning and preparing, this is really (an) R&R day for us to motivate each other as we gear up for the many events forthcoming for SAAM.”

Joint Region Marianas SAPR Coordinator Senior Master Sgt. Felicia Simon said she was excited to take part in the event as she felt it was important to have a day for the advocates to relax.

“This Day of Action means a lot because different people have went through things … different events,” she said. “So this means a lot to come out and support this community – Navy, Air Force, military and the Guam community.

Simon added that she is honored to be a victim advocate especially in the military.

“We want to be leaders by example,” she said. “Wherever you’ve come from, being in the military shows a representation of excellence at certain levels. So, I think it’s important that we lead the way with the (response) training.”

SAAM offers an opportunity for victim advocates to reach out to as many people and areas of the community to encourage them to speak openly about sexual assault.

“There have been huge efforts and attention put into training and campaigns,” Cabacar said. “This should tell us that (sexual assault) is a huge problem. We, as individuals, as a community – especially active-duty members – must make a (conscientious) decision to make good choices.”

FFSC will host several activities throughout the month to promote sexual assault awareness including silhouettes at the Navy Exchange, SAAM 24-hour relay/run April 20-21 and the Silent Witness March at the base Chapel April 24.

Naval Today Staff, April 10, 2013; Image: US Navy