Published July 15, 2011
A controversial posting on the U.S. Navy's Facebook page meant to raise awareness on sexual assault prevention has followers asking, "Is this some kind of joke?"
The Navy says it's for real.
A wall posting from June 22 shows a poster with 10 "sexual assault prevention tips." Some of them include:
"1. Don't put drugs in people's drinks in order to control their behavior."
"2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!"
"3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!"
"5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON'T ASSAULT THEM!"
"8. Don't forget: you can't have sex with someone unless they are awake!"
Facebook followers seemed stunned and at times offended by the obvious nature of the tips. The comment page is overflowing with followers who have harsh words for the Navy, many questioning its judgment.
"Trying my hardest not to laugh," wrote Joshua Jimenez.
"Navy, April Fool's Day was a few months back," wrote Chad Hall.
Others were clearly confused by the Navy's intent.
"Not really amusing coming from the Navy. I can see some of my more uncouth friends posting something like this, but the Navy? Have some sense!" Cristina Bassitt commented.
"Some of these "tips" are the dumbest things I have ever read ... it really does look like this isn't being taken seriously," Bernadette Theberge posted.
The poster was not actually the brainchild of the Navy, but of a feminist blog called TumblinFeminist, whose most recent entry states, "I honestly feel as though you can not by definition be a feminist and be a Christian, unless you are a bad Christian- or a bad feminist. Christianity is inherently and undeniably sexist among countless other things."
Navy spokesman Lt. Alana Garas told Fox News that the Navy post should have included more context from the start.
"The intention of posting this poster was to encourage discussion on a serious issue," Garas said. "It is a crime that will not be tolerated ... and the Navy will continue to explore ways to reach our sailors on this serious issue."
Within 20 minutes of the original post the Navy replied on the comment section saying in part it's critical to remind the public of these basic ideas.
"As sad as it is, you'd be surprised how many people need to be told these seemingly basic things," the comment reads.
According to Garas, in fiscal year 2010 the Navy reported 611 cases of sexual assault, including 441 unrestricted reports and 170 restricted reports. Restricted reports allow victims of sexual assault to confidentially disclose the crime to specifically identified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering the official investigative process. Unrestricted reports initiate an official investigation of the crime.
More disturbing data shows that "blue on blue" assaults increased by 3 percent from 2009 to 2010.
More information about sexual assaults in the Navy can be found on the DoD's sexual assault and prevention page, www.sapr.mil. The military also encourages any members who have fallen victim to sexual assault to seek confidential support from www.safehelpline.org.