GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- The event allowed SWOSU Great Lakes staff the opportunity to create a teaching moment for those unaware of the prevalence and human cost of sexual assault and created a focus on the SAAPM theme "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission."
"The significance of today's event is how it serves as powerful statements of command unification to show our support for sexual assault survivors, and to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to the prevention of sexual assault and other destructive behaviors that contribute to its occurrence and prevalence," said Hull Maintenance Technician (HT) 1st Class Loveasia Vann, leading petty officer for HT "A" School at SWOSU Great Lakes. "Sexually assaulting another shipmate defies everything we stand for as Sailors. In order to have a highly trained and effective command, there must be trust amongst each other; sexually assaulting a shipmate violates that trust in the most egregious way."
Denim Day was created to bring attention to the issue of sexual assault based on an Italian court case. In 1997, the Italian High Court addressed a sexual assault case involving an 18-year-old girl and her 45-year-old driving instructor. During their first lesson, the instructor raped the girl and left her in the alley.
At the trial the judge argued "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but considered consensual sex."
The ruling triggered a worldwide protest which started with women in the Italian Parliament showing their support by wearing jeans to work. Since that time, Denim Day has spread across the entire world as a day-long event focusing on sexual assault awareness and prevention.
"We wear jeans to say that what you wear does not dictate the right of others to assault you," Vann said. "I use this opportunity, along with all SWOSU staff, to teach others that this behavior is not acceptable."
In 2000, the Resource Sharing Project and National Sexual Violence Resource Center polled state, territory, and tribal coalitions on the front line as advocates to designate a color to represent their efforts. Teal was chosen.
The staff at SWOSU Great Lakes also presented over $1,100 gift cards to the Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Clinic.
The MST Program is dedicated to providing individualized outpatient mental health treatment to male and female veterans and active duty service members who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma. MST is the term the Department of Veterans Affairs uses to refer to sexual assault or sexual harassment that occurred while serving in the military.
The MST Program provides psychotherapy, psychiatric medication management, collaborative treatment planning and case management services to a weekly women's and men's sexual trauma groups.
"SWOSU Great Lakes always has time to stand up for what we believe in," said Cmdr. Terrance Patterson, commanding officer at SWOSU Great Lakes. "We stand up to the challenge every day, in uniform and out of uniform; we stand up for victims who report, for shipmates who intervene, and for leaders to create an environment that sexual assault will not be tolerated."
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