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U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC)

"Top Gun" star Anthony Edwards visits JEB Little Creek-Fort Story

by Story by Lt. Alissa Whyte
24 March 2023 VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Actor Anthony Edwards, the national spokesperson for the “1in6,” an organization dedicated to supporting men who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, visited Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story to discuss basic concepts and approaches to working with male survivors.

Edwards, best known for his role as “Goose” in the original "Top Gun," along with military and civilian experts, met with local Navy and Veterans Affairs chaplains, Victim Advocates (VAs) and Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) to raise awareness of this national concern that receives little attention.

“One out of six men have been sexually abused or assaulted by the time they’re 18 years old,” said Edwards, “this is an arena that is not talked about for a lot of different reasons and because of that, our concern is that 30 million American men are walking around right now and they’re not talking.”

He noted that the Navy’s experience and research with war related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) offers sexual assault responders and Sailors a unique perspective.

“[The military] understands [what happens when] trauma isn’t processed,” said Edwards. “Same goes for sexual assault trauma…it happens, it gets buried, and they don’t talk about it.”

Edwards points to studies that have shown these men are at a much greater risk for serious mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress, alcoholism and drug abuse.

Edwards’ hope for the visit was to provide these responders with additional resources, education and best practices to use when working with men who have experienced sexual assault or abuse.

In addition to SARCs, Sailors also have access to chaplains, who are often called upon to serve as counselors or confidants in times of distress.

“Today is about training our chaplains, and other advocates, to have the greatest understanding of the complexity of this issue so they can provide the best support for Sailors.” said Capt. Brian Stamm, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Fleet Chaplain.

Stamm explained that his primary desire as a chaplain is to help Sailors understand where they are spiritually and how he can help them grow.

“Chaplains provide for their own faith group, they facilitate all, they care…and [they] advise,” said Stamm.

Stamm had a clear message to Sailors.

“You are not alone,” he said. “We want to let our Sailors know that if you have something in your background that you would like to share, in this case, male sexual assault, you can come speak to a chaplain. If you speak to a chaplain, it goes no further.”

Sailors who have been affected by sexual assault or abuse are also encourage to call the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 or visit www.safehelpline.org for support and resources. The DoD Safe Helpline is a secure, confidential, anonymous, and 24/7, world-wide crisis support service.
 
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