This program serves as the focal point for coordinating all sexual assault prevention and response actions on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The SAPR Program’s mission is two-fold: to address the needs of military members that have been victims of sexual assault and to proactively provide relevant, interactive training on a regular, continuous basis to all Marines and Sailors aboard MCB Camp Pendleton in an effort to eliminate sexual assault from within our ranks.
Every battalion/squadron-sized Marine unit has at least two Uniformed Victim Advocates (UVA) assigned to help lessen the stress of a sexual assault. Unit UVAs have been trained and are able to offer victims assistance in three main areas: support, providing information about the different reporting options afforded them, and referrals to a multitude of different resources – both on base and in the local civilian community. Although UVAs are not counselors, they do help victims navigate the system and can put the victims in touch with licensed, certified counselors and professionally trained victim advocates.
Assault is a crime, and it will take the efforts of every Marine, sailor and leader to purge it from the Marine Corps. To make a confidential report of a sexual assault call:
24 hour Camp Pendleton reporting line: (760) 500-1707
DoD SafeHelpLine: (877) 995-5247
Life on a military installation can give you a sense of security—a feeling that everyone knows each other and watches out for one another. Unfortunately, there are those who don’t wear the uniform with pride and integrity, imposters, whom seek to take advantage of those who may be in a compromising situation.
We can all take steps to increase safety aboard the installation by being active and alert to the on goings around our workspaces and barracks. Remaining alert to your surroundings, you can act on ways of stepping in to prevent crimes like sexual assault from occurring. When it comes to personal safety, there are steps you can take as well, and some of those tips are outlined below. No tips can absolutely guarantee safety—sexual violence can happen to anyone, and it’s not the only crime that can occur aboard a military installation. It’s important to remember that if you are sexually assaulted, it is not your fault, and help and support are available.
The following tips may reduce your risk for many different types of crimes, including sexual violence.
- Know your resources. Who should you contact if you or a friend needs help? Where should you go? The installation’s emergency response number is 911, for non-emergencies, the dispatch number is (760) 725-3888. Locate your confidential resources such as the chaplain, Community Counseling Center, and your unit’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate (SAPR VA). Keep the installation’s 24/7 Sexual Assault Support as a contact in your phone: (760) 500-1707.
- Stay alert. When you’re moving around on or off base, be aware of your surroundings. Consider inviting a friend to join you, talk to your friends, and agree to look out for each other. Let them know if you plan on leaving with someone, where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. If you are alone, only use headphones in one ear to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Be mindful about posting your location. Many social media sites, like Facebook and Foursquare, use geolocation to publicly share your location. Consider disabling this function and reviewing other social media settings.
- Make others earn your trust. A barracks environment, can be very similar to dorms at a college campus, and can foster a false sense of security. Passersby may feel like fast friends, but give people time earn your trust before relying on them. Your barracks room was assigned to you by the Commander and you should always feel safe. If there is ever a question, be sure to call the Duty.
- Have a Plan B. Spend some time thinking about back-up plans for potentially sticky situations. If your phone dies, do you have a few numbers memorized to get help? Do you have emergency cash in case you can’t use a credit card? Do you have the address to your base/barracks memorized? If you drive, do you have a spare key hidden, enough fuel in your vehicle, and a set of jumper cables?
- Be secure. Lock your door and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave the room. Don’t make a habit out of propping your door open. Report any doors or windows that cannot be secured to the duty and report trouble ticket through building maintenance.
Situational Awareness in Social Settings:
It is possible to relax and have a good time while still making safety a priority. Consider these tips for staying safe and looking out for your friends in social settings:
- Make a plan and stick to it. If you’re going to a party, go with people you trust. Agree to watch out for each other and plan to leave together. If your plans change, make sure to touch base with the other people in your group. Don’t leave someone stranded in an unfamiliar or unsafe situation.
- Protect your drink. Don’t leave your drink unattended, and watch out for your friends’ drinks if you can. If you go to the bathroom or step outside, take the drink with you or toss it out. Drink from unopened containers or drinks you watched being made and poured. It’s not always possible to know if something has been added to someone’s drink. In drug-facilitated sexual assaults, a perpetrator could use a substance that has no color, taste, or odor. Alcohol is the most common date-rape drug. In fact, alcohol is involved in 75 percent of all sexual assaults reported.
- Know your limits. Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had, and be aware of your friends’ behavior. If one of you suddenly feels extremely tired or intoxicated, you may have been drugged. Leave the party or situation and find help immediately.
- It’s okay to lie. If you want to exit a situation immediately and are concerned about frightening or upsetting someone, it’s okay to lie. You are never obligated to remain in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, pressured, or threatened. You can also lie to help a friend leave a situation that you think may be dangerous. Some excuses you could use are needing to take care of another friend or family member, an urgent phone call, not feeling well, and having to be somewhere else by a certain time.
- Be a good friend. Trust your instincts. If you notice something that doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t be afraid to intervene if you see a friend leaving a party with a stranger. Learn more about how to keep your friends safe in social settings. Over 70% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the victim, a friend, co-worker, date or other acquaintance.
If you have been sexually assaulted or believe you have been:
Go to a safe location away from the perpetrator. Contact a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate (SAPR VA) for MCB Camp Pendleton, 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line at (760) 500-1707, to determine the best plan for taking care of yourself and your options. Do not shower, do not wash your hands or your clothing worn during the assault. Preserve all evidence from the assault. Do not clean or straighten up the crime scene. Seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you do not have any visible physical injuries, you may be at risk of becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted infection. California is a Mandate Report State when it comes to sexual assaults, unless you make the report aboard the installation at the Military Treatment Facility (MTF). Please Call the MCB Camp Pendleton 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line at (760) 500-1707 to speak with a SAPR VA to consider your options.
Question: What is sexual assault?
Answer: Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does, not or cannot consent. The term sexual assault includes a broad category of sexual offenses consisting of the following specific UCMJ offenses: rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy (forced anal or oral sex), or attempts to commit these acts.
Question: Does digital (finger) penetration constitute sexual assault?
Answer: Yes, digital penetration meets the definition of sexual assault.
Question: What constitutes consent?
Answer: Consent is defined as a freely given agreement to the conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means there is no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating or social or sexual relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the conduct at issue shall not constitute consent. A sleeping, unconscious, or incompetent person cannot consent.
Question: Who does the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program cover?
Answer: The SAPR program applies to military service members, their spouses, and dependent family members 18 years of age or older sexually assaulted in a non-domestic situation (e.g.: a Marine sexually assaulted by Service member, friend, civilian, or stranger). Marines assaulted by someone they have a domestic relationship with (e.g. current or former spouse, never married but share a child in common, live in intimate partner) are not covered under the SAPR program. This would fall under the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) MCO 1754.11 and be reported through Counseling Services. A FAP Victim Advocate can explain the domestic violence sexual assault policy and the program protections. Camp Pendleton’s 24/7 FAP Helpline is (760) 500-2633.
Question: What will the command do about my misconduct?
Answer: If, as a victim, you are engaged in prohibited conduct (e.g. underage drinking, out of bounds, off-limits establishment, fraternization, or adultery) prior to the sexual assault, the command will decide whether to bring disciplinary actions on the misconduct. Your O-6 commander, or Sexual Assault Initial Disposition Authority (SA-IDA) has complete discretion in addressing violations of established rules and orders within the unit. However, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) will advise the commander of the Commandant White Letter dated 29 April 2005, and subsequent MCO 1752.5C. The White Letter along with the MCO, encourages commanders to consider deferring or delaying the addressing a victim’s collateral misconduct until a final disposition of the more serious sexual assault case has been reached. However, a commander can choose to address the victim’s misconduct at any point in the process.
Question: Do I have to report a sexual assault?
Answer: Maybe. MCO 1752.5C states that Marines are mandated to report incidents of sexual assault that come under their observation (e.g., witness a sexual assault). A victim’s communication with another person (e.g., roommate, friend, family member) does not, in and of itself, prevent the victim from later electing to make a Restricted Report. Restricted Reporting is confidential, not anonymous, reporting.
If the person to whom the victim confided the information is NOT in the victim’s direct reporting chain of command/supervisor nor in law enforcement, there is no legal obligation for that individual to report to the command or law enforcement. If the person to whom the victim confided the information (e.g., roommate, friend, family member) is in the victim’s chain of command or a law enforcement officer, there can be no Restricted Report and the information shall be reported to the command and appropriate MCIO.
Communications between the victim and a person other than the SARC, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate (SAPR VA), chaplain, Victim’s Legal Counsel (VLC), and/or healthcare personnel are NOT confidential and do not receive the protections of Restricted Reporting. A SAPR VA is not a mandatory reporter except in cases involving imminent life threatening danger to the self or others. If you desire to make a restricted report it is important that you seek out a SARC, SAPR VA, chaplain, VLC, and/or healthcare personnel to maintain confidentiality. California is a mandate report state when it comes to sexual assault, unless that report is made aboard an installation with a Military Treatment Facility (MTF), so please ensure that you speak with a SAPR VA first to help maintain the Restricted Reporting option.
Question: How do I report?
Answer: There are several ways to make an initial report of a sexual assault. Depending on whether you choose to make a Restricted or Unrestricted report, you will have reporting options. Under restricted reporting, you can make a report confidentially to a SARC, SAPR VA, chaplain, VLC, and/or healthcare personnel. In unrestricted reporting, you may report to any command personnel, PMO, NCIS, legal, SAPR VA, SARC, Chaplain, or a healthcare provider. To make a report of a sexual assault, the Camp Pendleton 24/7 reporting line is (760) 500-1707.
Question: Can I seek support services without reporting?
Answer: Yes. Both DoD policy and MCO 1752.5C allow sexual assault victims to make a restricted report. Restricted reporting allows you to obtain the necessary medical, counseling and mental health services without reporting to law enforcement. ** It is very important to be aware that due to California state law, all civilian medical facilities are required to report to law enforcement agencies all cases of suspected or actual sexual assault. However if reported aboard an installation with an MTF, a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) can be performed without triggering a law enforcement investigation.**
Question: Under restricted reporting can I change my mind about not reporting to authorities?
Answer: Yes. Restricted reporting is a tool to assist you, as a victim of sexual assault, in addressing the myriad of emotions surrounding a sexual assault. The Marine Corps’ goal is to hold all perpetrators of sexual assault accountable. However, the Corps realizes that you may not be able to immediately face the challenges that come along with reporting to authorities. Therefore, you may choose to make a restricted report initially, but may change your mind when and if you choose to make an unrestricted report.
Question: Is confidentiality absolute?
Answer: No. In those instances where you or another person’s safety is in imminent danger, confidentiality is deemed waived. There are several other exceptions to confidentiality, which your SAPR VA will explain in more detail.
Question: Do I have to use on base services?
Answer: No. A SAPR VA, can provide referral information for off base services. Please contact one of them for further details.
Question: If I choose not to use installation services will I be responsible for any costs associated with civilian resources?
Answer: Maybe. All civilian medical services must be coordinated with Tricare except for medical emergencies. Tricare or a medical treatment facility should be contacted beforehand to ensure coverage of the services.
Question: What should I expect? Why don’t I feel like myself? How will I feel?
Answer: Sexual assault affects different people in different ways. The way a person feels can differ from day-to-day and from person-to-person. Some days you may cope, others you may not be able to get on with your day-to-day activities. A memory, sight, sound, smell or event could start the bad feelings. It is important to remember that you are reacting normally to an abnormal situation. It may take time and support to get back to feeling settled. You may be aware of what happened, but feel numb. This is a common initial reaction. You may feel that what happened is remote and has nothing to do with you. You may or may not feel the impact immediately, or later.
Over time you could suffer physical symptoms such as: lack of appetite, high blood pressure, fatigue and problems sleeping. Depending on your situation, you may experience a mix of emotions, and these will not occur in any particular order. Some emotions will go away and come back later. These emotions could include: emptiness or numbness, fear or anxiety, sadness or depression, guilt, shame or dirtiness, anger or irritability, grief, loss of privacy and control, and panic and confusion. You may feel helpless and deserted, and that no one understands what you are going through. These symptoms or feelings usually go away after some time, but they do create problems for some people. They could affect your ongoing health or relationships. It is important to take care of you, and to get any support and treatment that you need.
Question: Will I have to go through this alone?
Answer: No. You will receive support from a SARC, SAPR VA, chaplain, VLC, and/or healthcare personnel if desired. Depending on the type of reporting, you will receive assistance from Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP), as well as, command, legal, and investigative support.
Question: How will I be treated?
Answer: MCO 1752.5C requires that you be treated fairly, with dignity, and sensitivity.
Question: Will the command keep me safe?
Answer: Yes. In unrestricted reporting cases, MCO 1752.5C requires a commander to ensure the physical safety and emotional security of the victim. DoD policy and MCO 1752.5C, provide guidance to commanders to determine if the victim desires/needs a “no contact” order or an MPO (DD Form 2873) to be issued, particularly if the victim and the alleged offender are assigned to the same command, unit, duty location, or living quarters. Question: What if I work with the person whom assaulted me, and I want to keep a restricted report, how will the command keep me safe? Answer: One of the limitations of a restricted report is the commander’s ability to protect you due to the commander NOT being informed of the report. The SAPR VA will assist you in the development of a safety plan.
Question: Will reporting impact my career?
Answer: No. DoD policy and MCO 1752.5C encourages you as a victim to make an unrestricted report of sexual assault, which would offer you the widest range of services and protection. Should you, as a victim, ever feel you’ve been retaliated against, any forms of reprisal or ostracism due to your reporting of this crime, you may bring up this report to your Chain of Command, Inspector General Office, Victims legal Counsel. For Marines and sailors who’ve already EAS’d/EAOS’d who feel they have been retaliated against for reporting a sexual assault or sexual harassment by receiving adverse evaluations or adverse administrative action can petition the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) to request removal of such material from their records.
Question: If I seek medical treatment at a MTF will medical personnel maintain my privacy and choice to make a restricted report?
Answer: Yes. If reported aboard an installation with an MTF, a restricted report can be filed and a SAFE can be performed without triggering a law enforcement investigation.
Question: How do I handle the reactions and criticism of others when they learn about my sexual assault?
Answer: Comments by others may feel like criticism or blaming even though it may not be intended that way. Remind yourself of the fact that you were sexually assaulted against your will – even if you may not be happy with some of your choices. You were taken out of control in the situation. You survived. Yes, your life has changed but you can move forward in spite of the criminal behavior committed against you. Use this as an opportunity to experience your personal strengths by holding your
Question: I heard that a friend of mine reported a rape and the command ended up charging her for not telling the truth. Can this happen?
Answer: Yes. False statements are a violation of the UCMJ. Question: Do I have to testify when I do not want to? Answer: Maybe. The decision on whether a victim will testify ultimately rests with your commander. The commander will base his/her decision on many important concerns including your mental well-being and desires, as well as maintaining good order and discipline within the unit. Acquiring the services of a VLC would afford you the best options and opportunities for addressing and navigating these challenging legal situations.
Question: When someone else in the command reports the sexual assault that happens to me, even if I do not want him or her to, will I have to participate in the investigation?
No. Per DoD policy and MCO 1752.5C, once the command is made aware of a known, suspected, or alleged sexual assault, it must be reported to the Military Criminal Investigative Organization, and for the Navy and Marine Corps, that is Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), for investigation. You will have the option to not participate in the criminal investigation by signing a Victim Preference Statement. You will be advised of the decreased likelihood of a successful investigation and prosecution of the perpetrator absent your participation. Even without your participation, the criminal investigation may continue.
MCB Camp Pendleton Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
Camp Pendleton Civilian SAPR Victim Advocates
Provost Marshall Office (PMO)
(760) 725-5106/ (760) 763-2077
DoD Safe Helpline
Community Counseling Center
Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition
Center for Community Solutions (Rape Crisis Center- Coastal)
Center for Community Solutions (East)
Center for Community Solutions (North)
Women’s Resource Center (Oceanside)
YWCA Domestic Violence Services