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Andersen to observe ‘Denim Day’ as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, members of Andersen are authorized to wear jeans to work April 30 in support of a worldwide campaign known as Denim Day.

The Denim Day movement started in 1998 when a teenage girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor who threatened to harm her and her brothers if she resisted. Her attacker was tried, convicted and sentenced to jail but on appeal his case went to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome. The court overturned the original ruling stating that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans she must have had to help remove them, thereby giving consent to have sex.

Each year, military installation commanders make the decision to incorporate the campaign among other SAPR awareness events held in April.

"There is no such thing as an alleged victim," said Brig Gen Steven Garland, 36th Wing Commander. "Everyone owns the right to say "No" at any point. The Air Force does not tolerate sexual assault in any way, shape or form. We need everyone's help to raise the standard and not tolerate any conditions in our military that do not promote dignity and respect for all members. Be a good wingman and intervene when you see a bad situation developing.

"Don't be a bystander. Your timely input of just a few words can rescue a friend or help create an environment where harassment is not tolerated. Never underestimate the power of being a positive example and role model for your fellow Airmen. We ultimately want to raise awareness and make it very difficult for serial predators to prey on our folks, said Garland. "We need your help to rid ourselves of the problem hiding in our ranks."

By wearing denim, Andersen Airmen are visibly taking a stand and letting their fellow Airmen know they are not a bystander. They actively support a culture of respect for all people throughout the base.

"I highly recommend Airmen research this particular case; having knowledge of the background behind the ruling will really open a lot of Airmen's eyes to the justice system (regarding sexual assault around the world)," said Master Sgt. Bradley Dapilmoto, 36th Wing Inspector General's office and 36th Wing Staff Agencies first sergeant. "By wearing jeans on Denim Day, we will be supporting this movement together as a base."

Andersen Airmen aren't the only individuals supporting the movement, according to denimdayusa.org. Members from various communities nationwide, elected officials, businesses and even students will be making a social statement by wearing jeans as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

"I feel that by wearing jeans to work on Denim Day, I'm directly supporting the cause," said Airman 1st Class Stephen Haynes, 36th Comptroller Squadron. "I feel strongly about the case of this woman, and by supporting this movement I'm voicing my opinion and making a difference."

To support the Denim Day movement, members of Andersen may also wear a T-shirt that symbolizes Denim Day along with wearing jeans. To purchase a shirt, contact your first sergeant or appointed Denim Day representative. For more information about Denim Day, visit denimdayusa.org or call the SAPR office at 366-7714.

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