Sexual assault is a crime and will not be tolerated. Sexual assault corrodes the morale and good order and discipline of the command as Marine-on-Marine sexual assault is committed from a position of power and authority on the part of the perpetrator. As a result Marines lose trust and confidence of ALL leaders in positions of authority. Additionally Marine-on-civilian sexual assault destroys the special relationship that the Corps enjoys with the American people – remember “America does not need a Marine Corps, it WANTS a Marine Corps.”
Sexual assault is a crime defined as intentional sexual contact, characterized by the use of force, physical threat, abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Consent cannot be given or withheld when one is unconscious, drunk, drugged or otherwise impaired. Past consensual contact does not automatically constitute future consent. Further failure to physically or verbally resist also does not constitute consent. Sexual assault includes rape, non-consensual sodomy, indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commit these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal relationship, or ages of the victim. All allegations of sexual assault will be thoroughly investigated and when sufficient evidence is present, prosecuted in accordance with governing regulations.
Every Marine is charged to demonstrate moral and physical courage by intervening to prevent sexual assault. I expect all 8th MCD Marines to apply “Take a Stand” Bystander Intervention Training to recognize and interpret signals of sexual assault and take action to stop sexual assault. It takes strength and courage to intervene and remove a fellow Marine or Sailor from a situation that could lead to a sexual assault. If you know of a sexual assault, it’s your duty to report it immediately.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or are aware of a sexual assault contact the Command Uniformed Victim Advocate (UVA). Help is also available from the Western Recruiting Region Sexual Assault 24/7 Helpline at 619-846-6040 or the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247. There are two reporting options available to victims of sexual assault: restricted reporting, and unrestricted reporting:
Restricted Reporting: A victim can disclose a sexual assault without triggering an official investigation AND receive medical treatment, advocacy services, legal assistance, and counseling.
Unrestricted Reporting: For victims of sexual assault who desire medical treatment, counseling, legal assistance, SARC assistance, AND an official investigation of the crime.
Sexual Assault Prevention is one of the most important challenges facing our Corps. We cannot fail in this endeavor. How can the American public and our civilian leaders trust us to win our nations battles, if we cannot eliminate sexual assault? Eliminating sexual assault is everyone’s responsibility.
K. W. MATTHEWS
COLONEL, U. S. MARINE CORPS