Even during the midst of COVID-19, awareness and prevention continues to be a priority in keeping Sailors, Civilians, and family members safe. Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) was recognized during the month of April by the Department of Defense focused on creating the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault and requiring a personal commitment from us all. Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads’ Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR), under the leadership of Kevin Meynardie, hosted its first SAPR Poetry Slam. The purpose of the Poetry Slam was to promote awareness, healing and hope in Eliminating Sexual Assault.

Entries were accepted by anyone affiliated within the military; Active Duty, Family Members, DoD Civilians, Retirees or DoD Contractors. Participants had to compose his/her verbal expression in a written piece of work, producing a way to express him or herself pertaining to sexual assault. Many entries were submitted; all thought provoking, well written, however, only one could be selected to gain recognition as the winner.

“Letter To A SURVIOR” by Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tiara Dickerson, NMCP, Winner

For moments on end, I've wished they were still, And in those very moments, I often wondered what was real, The thoughts that consume me and make me feel no longer whole, Are the same thoughts now I fight daily to remold, I've come to place the reality of my fears, In the hands of those who appreciate my tears, For they know and feel the pain I hide behind my face, And allow me to gather in a peaceful, safe place, By such events, I shall not be defined, I will not allow my trauma to conquer my mind, This isn't about me; Yet, us all who are hurt, And it mattered not if it were a uniform, bikini, even oversized shirt, And whether we spoke up or whether not they were caught, We'll always have memories of the water we fought. My sister, and yes, my brother too, Keep fighting for your freedom and bid your attacker adieu, They saw you and decided to leave scars, But I want you to look in the mirror and see you for who you really are, Love you and please learn to admire, That person staring back is a true Survivor.

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