The issue of retaliation, especially towards victims of sexual assault, has been in the news lately. Retaliation is a destructive behavior, and you can play a role in preventing and reporting it. Here are five things you need to know about retaliation:
- Retaliation is harmful action against someone for something they did or said. It includes ostracism and is often described as professional or social. Retaliation is a violation of the UCMJ.
- Professional retaliation against a Sailor could be loss of privileges, a denied promotion or training, or being transferred to a less favorable job. If you or someone you know is assigned extra watches, or denied chances to qualify for a warfare pin because they reported a crime or other violation, it’s your duty to let someone know so it can be stopped and those responsible held appropriately accountable.
- Social retaliation, or ostracism, means excluding someone from social acceptance, or denying privilege of friendship just because they reported or intend to report a crime. Retaliation amongst peers can be just as damaging to someone as professional retaliation.
- Social media can be a common platform for social retaliation. Commands and Sailors should be aware that in the online world, messages and comments can discourage reporting of a crime and ostracize those who have already stepped forward. Social media posts should be treated just the same as if the message was publicly announced on the mess decks. If you wouldn’t say it in person in public then you shouldn’t be posting it on social media.
- From recruits, to junior petty officers, to commanding officers, training is being updated to ensure retaliation is better recognized and discussed in order to work towards eliminating it in the Fleet. But you don’t have to attend a class to put a stop to this problem. You can act now. Every command, and everyone in it, must work to assess its climate to ensure there is an environment that allows for Sailors to do the right thing without fear of retaliation.
Retaliation against anyone, in any form, is prohibited. We must stop the harm that retaliation brings to a Sailor, a command and our Navy. It’s your job to report offenses that come under your observation. It’s your job to treat all of those who report a crime with honor and respect. It’s your job to report retaliation when it occurs, and you can do that through your chain of command, through a trusted mentor, or through the inspector general hotline at 1-800-522-3451.