Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Navy Ditches PowerPoint In Favor Of Actors To Teach Sexual Assault Prevention
The Navy is revamping its approach to combating sexual assault in its presentation to sailors and potentially in the way it monitors the accused.
Lectures with bullet points on large screens are being sidelined in favor of actors role-playing the tough issues, as 7th Fleet sailors at Yokosuka saw Tuesday and Wednesday during programs that addressed themes like victim retaliation and male-on-male sexual assault.
Scenarios included a sailor being ostracized by friends and peers for reporting a rape, and a sailor struggling to reconcile a childhood sexual assault with his ideas of traditional masculinity.
Using Pure Praxis, a California-based theater group contracted by the Navy since 2015, is more time-consuming and expensive — but also more effective, said Jill Loftus, director of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
Sailors who spoke with Stars and Stripes following the performances generally agreed that the actors gave the issues more emotional resonance.
“I’ve been in the Navy 13 years and it’s all been PowerPoint,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Roberto Coriano, a ship’s serviceman at Yokosuka’s Naval Supply Fleet Logistics Center. “Bringing [the training] on stage, it makes you think about it more. [Sailors] see the real thing on stage.
“You hear about these situations but when you see it physically it bothers you more.”
The scenarios the actors portray are realistic, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Hightower, a quartermaster aboard the USS Shiloh. Hightower said he recently intervened in an incident at an off-base club where a group of men was aggressively harassing a female.
“I like this type of training,” he said. “PowerPoints are boring; people fall asleep and they are kind of pointless. Getting involved [in the role-playing] allows people to examine how they would actually respond in a real-life scenario.”
Half of Pure Praxis’ performances center on victim retaliation, with sailors being asked to analyze retaliation scenarios acted out in front of them.
Although the Navy is seeing fewer sexual-assault incidents, victim retaliation continues to be an issue.
A 2014 RAND survey found that roughly half of all active-duty female service members who reported a sexual assault believed they suffered professional or social retaliation.
“We see reports of survivors who say the worst part of reporting sexual assault is when they come back to their ship or unit and they are ostracized by their own peers and friends,” Loftus said.
Retaliation and social ostracism plays a possible role in the rise of restricted sexual-assault reports.
With a restricted report, the names of the victim and accuser are kept confidential, allowing the victim to receive treatment without triggering a legal response toward the assailant.
The Navy’s 2015 report on sexual assault, the service’s most recent report, showed a 25 percent increase in restricted reports not converted into unrestricted ones, where authorities investigate the crime.
Loftus attributes this to better Navy training in recent years encouraging more sailors to report sexual assaults they survived prior to joining the service. Servicemembers are keeping the report restricted to avoid implicating a friend or family member, she said.
However, the Navy is considering a change — pending legal review — to the restricted reporting system that could preserve victim anonymity while giving the service a better chance of spotting serial predators.
Following a restricted report, an alleged assailant’s name would be placed in a database for future tracking, Loftus said.
© 2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Human civilization is about fire. Creating fire is what separates us from the animals; extinguishing it without urinating on it, according to Sigmund Freud, marked the starting point for the most fundamental societies. It is also, at its core, a force of destruction — and, therefore, a weapon of war.
Army researchers have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer. Except that 3D printers are meant to print out knickknacks, not flak jackets — which meant that engineers had to hack into the printer to get the job done.
Hot on the heels of the Marine Corps's head-to-toe overhaul of infantry rifle squads, a handful of grunts at the Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California recently conducted field testing alongside a handful of autonomous robots engineered by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation program.
Eddie Gallagher was found not guilty on the most serious charges, but he could still leave the Navy as an E1
Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher dodged the most serious charges the Navy threw at him during his court martial, but his final sentence could be far worse than what the jury originally handed down.
If the convening authority approves the jury's sentence of four months' confinement and a reduction in rank from E7 to E6, Gallagher will be busted down to the rank of E1, according to Navy officials.
'I went to war for this country' — Mark Esper pushes back on Elizabeth Warren's accusation of working for his 'own financial interest'
An otherwise sleepy confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper was jolted from its legislative stupor after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) grilled the former Raytheon lobbyist on ethical issues regarding his involvement with his former employer.