MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- Approximately 30 Marines participated in the race, which was aimed at raising awareness for sexual assault prevention and response.
The Marines were divided into teams of six and tasked with seeking out eight locations throughout the Combat Center.
At each location, Marines received a class on a variety of subjects pertaining to sexual assault. Some of the locations included the Provost Marshal’s Office, the Mameluke Officer’s Club, the Family Advocacy Program building and the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.
“They [traveled to each station] talking to different subject matter experts,” said Deliesse Hitt, SAPR representative. “It’s basically a race to see who can get all the information in the fastest time.”
During the classes, the Marines were instructed with various teaching methods, often utilizing displays and posters to help them retain the information. For example, upon arrival at PMO they were taught a class inside a holding cell to experience where an offender of a sexual assault case would be held.
Lt. Col. Dennis A. Sanchez, battalion commander, Headquarters Battalion, presented the three fastest teams with medals, as well as a trophy for the first place team. In first place was 7th Marine Regiment, followed by 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and 3/7.
“The race is a competition between units,” Hitt said. “It’s a different, fun way to learn [sexual assault] prevention.”
According to Hitt, some of the parties involved in organizing the event included the Marine Corps Community Services, Substance Abuse Control Office, Legal Services Support Team, Victim Legal counsel, Uniformed Victim Advocates, the Naval Hospital and PMO.
“A lot of teamwork went into [organizing] this event,” Hitt said. “It took a lot of effort with MCCS to keep everything running smoothly.”
Many of the participating Marines found the event to be a beneficial and effective way of learning prevention and becoming proactive.
“I thought it seemed like a [informative] event, the Marines who came out here had a good time,” said Ben Mills, postal clerk, Headquarters Battalion. “What they’re doing regarding SAPR is definitely a good thing.”
The race was the first event to kickoff April, recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Throughout the month SAPR representatives will have tables set up to further inform Marines at the dining facilities and the Main Exchange. SAAPM will close with the Colorful Consent 5k run at the physical fitness test track open to anyone with base access, May 1.
“The competition is to get [Combat Center patrons] involved and raise awareness toward sexual assault prevention.” Hitt said. “It’s a way to help people by shining a light [on the subject]. We get the prevention awareness out there in a fun environment.”