UPRIZINE was founded in 2017, aiming to create conversation and raise awareness surrounding intersectional issues at Temple University Japan through opinion pieces, creative writing, and occasionally, informative journalism. It is run by students and for students, through the TUJ Zine Club. 

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  • Lily Boland

Veterans on SA Training in the Military: Grace Bellamy (Part 4)


For our next part in this interview series, current TUJ student and former Navy officer Grace Bellamy kindly answered our questions.

Where did you serve and for how long?

I served in the United States Navy (USN) for 4 years. 3 years in Yokosuka, Japan, and 1 year in Norfolk, Virginia.

What kind of sexual assault prevention training did you receive?

In my four years, there were theatre groups that came to the boat and acted out sexual assault situations. This was in front of all the sailors that were required to attend. There were, of course, online courses like the recent Temple one on assault, drugs, and alcohol. There were also videos that we were required to watch as a division, and then discuss upon the topics viewed. There would be a discussion leader for these videos that would ask questions based on the videos [we] watched.

How much did you retain?

I retained the training done under the visual aids . [It was] “death by PowerPoint” by the online courses [and] I remember nothing about them.

How often did you receive it?

The two visual/video trainings only happened once every year, during my four years. The online courses happened about 2-3 times a year while there was a ship wide weekly training

hour that was always a different topic each week (firefights, QA, alcohol, etc). Only when

there was a recent incident did the “training increase.” Increase, as in maybe an hour

longer than usual or instead of the usual weekly training hour, there would be two training

hours in one week.

In what capacity did you receive this training? i.e. were you alone, in a group and if so what kind of group? Mixed gender, small, large, divided by rank or something else?

Training done alone was always done by the NKO online courses that we were made to do. These courses were done in a way, that if you decided to skip or not do it, you could not leave work until it was done. I never had a gender divided training group. I did have a gender divided small group meeting due to an incident within the department, but the outcome of that was that the two people involved just went to different departments. Nothing else. Other than that, training was done by department and division, and rarely shipwide.

How helpful do you think the training was for you personally? How about for your peers?

I will say that due to the situation that created the female small group session [previously mentioned], the training helped inform people of that situation and at the basic level, the problem was answered to and handled. But the outcome was not handled. For me personally, the topic was well “beaten” into me with the redundancy of the training. I feel it helped me learn how to help others that may be assaulted and not know how to act, respond, who to go to etc.; help see the signs of those who may need help.

What do you think could have been improved on in the training the military gave you when you were enlisted? This could be for your personal benefit, or the benefit of others based on your observation of their opinions and retention.

As I was leaving the military, the training for me got better with the videos. Less words, more videos, and more group discussion. This forced people to pay attention instead of watching TV and waiting for the “NEXT” button to appear so a sailor can just finish the training and go home. That’s the situation where the training doesn’t work. The training becomes more of a task that needs to be done, and less of a lesson to be learned for the benefit of oneself and others.

Currently, TUJ is promoting assault and harassment awareness in multiple ways, if you do not know these ways, please inform us. If you do, let us know what you think is working and what is not.

The hotline numbers posted were an awesome upgrade in letting people know that there is help available. Personally, the online course we were all made to do [the other option being] going on academic hold, reminded me of the military too much. I didn’t read or pay any attention to it, but would check into the program to click the next button. Being placed into a group and made to discuss, creates better awareness than leaving people to their own when the topic is so important and heavy.

Does the training you received align with what TUJ is currently promoting?

Yes. In general, the direction TUJ is going is the right direction.

Do you think the way TUJ is addressing sexual assault is helpful for the student body? In regards to retention? Impact?

Yes, because before there was nothing at all, and the people behind making this an important issue and topic of discussion are continually talking about it, but not in an overbearing manner. Reaching to social media outputs and general outputs and talking about it. That’s what the school needs, people who are willing to talk and keep awareness [up], unlike those who wish to ignore the issues and tell others to do so otherwise.

Lily interviewed Grace via email. It was important for us to include not only men in this series, but female veterans as well. They can provide varying experiences and recommendations for TUJ that are incredibly valuable. We thank Grace for her insight and input!

Keep an eye out every Monday, for a new installment of this six part series!

Click here to read a little bit more about why we decided to do these interviews.