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New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addresses Pentagon employees and service members during an all-hands call during his first day at the Pentagon, Feb. 27, 2013. Hagel earlier took the oath of office to serve as the 24th defense secretary.

Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

Hagel Issues Message on Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention

3 Apr 2013 | Courtesy Story

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today issued a message to all members of the Defense Department, emphasizing that stopping sexual assault and supporting victims is everyone’s responsibility.

Here is the text of the secretary’s message:

This month, the Department of Defense observes Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month with the theme “We own it … we’ll solve it … together.”

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is an opportunity for the entire DoD community – service members, civilians, members of our families and leaders at every level – to underscore our commitment to eliminating the crime of sexual assault, supporting victims, and intervening when appropriate to help stop unsafe behavior.

Together, we must work every day to instill a climate that does not tolerate or ignore sexist behavior, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. These have no place in the United States military and violate everything we stand for and the values we defend. Creating a culture free of the scourge of sexual assault requires establishing an environment where dignity and respect is afforded to all, and where diversity is celebrated as one of our greatest assets as a force.

We are strong because of our values of service, sacrifice and loyalty – and doing what is right. We watch out for each other and respect each other. By drawing on these strengths, we can and we must stop sexual assault within our ranks.

Remember, we own it … we’ll solve it … together.

Headquarters Marine Corps