Navy launches new series of videos on sexual assault prevention, awareness

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by Mike Gooding, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on May 2, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 5:17 PM

NORFOLK--In its ongoing effort to curb sexual assault in the ranks, the Navy has launched a series of new videos on YouTube, aimed at preventing assaults in the fleet.

The first video profiles a female sailor who fell asleep after a party and woke up to discover a male sailor on top of her, assaulting her.

Crytologic Technician First Class Bonnie MCCammond details the night she was assaulted in the Navy's five-minute video.

"I remember just completely freezing," she said. "I woke up midnight, two in the morning, everybody was asleep. One of the attendees from the party, another Navy person, was on top of me and assaulting me."

McCammond said she had served as a sexual assault victim intervention advocate, but when she herself was victimized, she was at a loss.

"I completely broke down. I couldn't tell anybody about it," she said in the video."It was a year and a half before I told anybody."

McCammond said she questioned whether she did anything wrong.

"At the end of the day it wasn't my fault," she said. "There wasn't anything I could've done that changed that this person, that this other sailor decided that it was OK to violate me as I passed out on a couch."

The video was released as the Department of Defense this week released new statistics on sexual assault. While the number of reported assaults shot up sharply in 2013, defense officials said that based on survey data and other information, they believe the increase was largely due to victims feeling more comfortable coming forward.

Overall, there were 5,061 reports of sexual abuse filed in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, compared with 3,374 in 2012, for a 50 percent gain. About 10 percent of the 2013 reports involved incidents that occurred before the victim got into the military, up from just 4 percent in 2012.

However, U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command is also tracking numbers for Fiscal Year 2014.  In a television exclusive, WVEC-TV was present as the Navy's Executive Leadership Council met for three hours at Naval Station Norfolk this week.  It was disclosed that while Navy-wide statistics for 2013 showed a 40 percent increase in sexual assault cases being investigated, the trend so far for 2014 shows a 30 percent drop.

Captain Chuck Marks, Fleet Forces'  Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Officer, told 13 News Now he thinks they're starting to make a dent in the problem.

"We think we are, " he said. "We're still a long, long way from declaring victory but we're starting to see positive effects of all the attention being focused on the problem so far."
 

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