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SAAM events unite Team Andersen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Whitney Tucker
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
As April gets underway and the nation raises its collective voice to speak out against sexual violence, Team Andersen continues to promote awareness through special events, public demonstration and education.

After garnering tremendous support from the base populace during the 36th Wing Sexual Assault Awareness Month 5K, leadership hopes to unite the community once more during Denim Day, an event borne from atrocity, but utilized for public education across the globe.

Organizations and individuals began observing Denim Day following the 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision to overturn a rape conviction based on the victim's wear of tight jeans. It was determined that it would have been impossible for the assailant to remove the victim's jeans without her cooperation; therefore she must have given her consent.
"Denim Day is a symbolic gesture," said 2nd Lt. Masha Scheglov, alternate Sexual Assault Response coordinator. "The reasons behind the court's decision to overturn the rape conviction sound outrageous, yet in Italy and all over the world, women and men who are victims of sexual assault continue to be disbelieved and blamed due to their behavior or attire."

Sexual assault not only demonstrates a blatant disregard for the Air Force core values, but is a violation of free will and an individual's right to choose. Wearing jeans on Denim Day, April 20 this year, is a visible reminder of the events that took place in a courtroom more than 10 years ago, and highlights the importance of preventing sexual violence.

"Sexual assault is more common than people imagine," Lieutenant Scheglov said. "Statistics show that one in five women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Because more victims confide in their coworkers and friends first, it is crucial to know how to respond."

In order to combat this silent enemy it is each individual's responsibility to spread knowledge and infect the public with education, in the hope of eradicating sexual violence for generations to come.

This year's Department of Defense SAAM theme is "Hurts one, affects all...preventing sexual assault is everyone's duty." It is with this attitude that Team Andersen members are asked to don a pair of jeans and help expel the damaging myths associated with sexual assault.