Secretary, VA leaders affirm the White Ribbon VA pledge
On April 14, 2021, VA Secretary Denis McDonough held a virtual ceremony to underscore his zero tolerance for gender-based harassment or sexual assault in VA facilities. At the ceremony, McDonough and VA senior leaders, including Army combat Veteran Chief of Staff Tanya Bradsher, affirmed their commitment to the White Ribbon VA pledge.
Hundreds of VA and Veterans Service Organization (VSO) leaders, and their senior leadership teams from across the country, joined the virtual ceremony. McDonough reflected on President Biden’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation. The President said, “Little can destroy institutional trust faster and more painfully than sexual assault or sexual harassment.”
Secretary McDonough has made it clear since assuming his role that all VA staff, patients, families, caregivers, survivors, visitors and advocates must feel safe in a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. He told the virtual audience, “This is about excellence in leadership. Expecting, preserving and perpetuating the highest standards of ethical and professional leadership.”
As a show of unity and commitment, McDonough asked the audience to raise their right hands and take the White Ribbon VA pledge along with him: “I, (state your name), pledge to never commit, excuse or stay silent about sexual harassment, sexual assault or domestic violence against others.”
The pledge is more than words. It must be the example – the standard we all abide by.