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Lantern Walk Sheds Light on Sexual Assault

From NSA Mid-South Public Affairs

Collins signing proclamation Collins Walk special guestsNaval Support Activity Mid-South hosted the third annual Lance Cpl. Suzanne Collins Lantern Procession to End Sexual Assault on April 7.
The procession was held at the Glen Eagle Golf Course and featured speakers Rear Adm. Jeffrey Hughes, commander, Navy Recruiting Command; Terry Jones, mayor of the City of Millington; and Rachel Haaga, executive director of Restore Corps.
Capt. David Bryson, commanding officer, NSA Mid-South, took the opportunity to thank the victim advocates and entire sexual assault response team for their efforts to raise awareness and support victims.
“Our victim advocates are regular Sailors. They come from all job fields and commands across the base,” said Bryson. “They are not social workers or licensed therapists; they are simply Sailors who’ve made the commitment, and attended the training so they could help shipmates in a time of need.”
Both Bryson and Hughes signed the proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month at NSA Mid-South.
Additionally, Jones declared April 7 2016, Lance Cpl. Suzanne Marie Collins Day for the city.
Jones acknowledged the importance of strong partnerships between the installation and the city in combating sexual assault.
“We must work together to educate our community about sexual violence prevention, supporting survivors and speaking out against harmful attitudes and actions. Prevention is possible when everyone gets involved,” Jones said. “It’s time for all of us to take action to create a safer environment for all.”
While Bryson praised the victim advocates, he said the goal is not to need them anymore.
“Ideally we’d get to a point where a Victim Advocate’s role was obsolete; where sexual assault simply didn’t happen,” he said.
Susanna Parkinson, sexual assault response coordinator, said that was the hope of the lantern procession as well.
“The event concept is taken from the Goethe quote, ‘perhaps someday the inner light will shine forth from all of us, and then we’ll need no other light’.”  she said. “Here’s hoping the day will come when there is no need to continue the procession to raise awareness of this terrible crime.”
Parkinson said the event was a great way to honor not only Collins, but all victims of sexual assault.
“The speaker’s did an exceptional job of honoring Suzanne’s memory, while emphasizing the Navy’s continued commitment to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for its military personnel and civilian partners.”

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