Arnold AFB SAPR office hold events to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Kali Bradford
  • AEDC Public Affairs

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

During the month, the Arnold Air Force Base Sexual Assault Prevention Response office is hosting several events in efforts to bring attention to SAAPM.

Denim Day will take place April 24. Base personnel are encouraged to wear denim as a symbol of protest against sexual assault and to combat victim blaming. The goal of the day is to raise awareness about sexual violence and challenge misconceptions surrounding this crime.

Origins of the day trace back to Italy in the summer of 1992 when an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor. While the perpetrator was convicted, his sentence was overturned in 1998 and he was released from prison. His defense argued that the victim had engaged in “consensual” sex because she was wearing tight jeans that could only be removed with her assistance. In response to this ruling, Italian women rallied by wearing jeans to their workplaces, highlighting the injustice of the overturned verdict.

Nicole Berger, Victim Advocate Specialist at Arnold AFB, said that Demin Day is an opportunity to support survivors of sexual assault.

“Denim Day is a powerful opportunity to practice solidarity and support survivors,” she explained. “This annual national campaign is the longest running event related to prevention of sexual assault. This year marks 25 years of a commitment to exposing harmful behaviors, victim blaming and negative attitudes surrounding sexual violence. Arnold has now joined in this tradition for the first time this year by wearing jeans on a day as a visible means to protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.”

Along with Denim Day, each Tuesday in April is recognized as Teal Tuesday.  Base personnel are also encouraged to wear the color teal in support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing the color of sexual violence prevention.

Berger stated that this is another way for Arnold personnel to show support during SAAPM.

“Teal is the color that represents sexual violence, particularly in the month of April,” she said. “Teal Tuesday is an opportunity for everyone at Arnold to wear teal and collectively engage the installation around the conversation of sexual abuse. It is a way to show victims who have not reported, whether the abuse be past or present, that they now have unwavering support, guidance and advocacy right down the hall. It is the simplest way to show your support for victims of sexual assault.”

Berger added that the campaign isn’t just about bringing awareness and making a difference during the month of April but continuing the mission year-round.

“As individuals, we can all make a difference, but think of the power we could have if an entire Arnold community rallies behind this national campaign,” she stated. “Sexual violence impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men. These numbers are staggering, and we owe it to survivors everywhere in our military and civilian communities to change these statistics. Together, we can advance our mission to provide a military culture where sexual assault and other negative behaviors are not tolerated, condoned or ignored, and alleged offenders are held appropriately accountable. It can start with merely wearing teal and not just in April.”

Established in 2001 by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, SAAPM is observed by civilian and military communities across the U.S. each April with a focus of raising public awareness about sexual assault along with educating communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

The Arnold AFB SAPR office can be reached at 931-454-7272 during normal business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Sexual Assault Victim Advocates with the office may be reached any time via the SAPR 24/7 Helpline at 931-581-7494.

Those needing assistance may also contact the DOD Safe Helpline at 1-877-995-5247.