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Denim Day: Tackling sexual assault one leg at a time

(U.S. Air Force graphic/James Rainer)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/James Rainer)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- They walk among us; yet, many of us have no idea who they are.  They work beside us in silence, never letting on what they've been through.

They are the victims of sexual assault. 

When we consider that nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 33 men in the military are victims of sexual assault, we can only wonder how many of our Team Patrick-Cape Wingmen; with whom we interact each day, are among that number. 

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, authorized the wear of denim jeans Nov. 7, (see authorization letter), for Team Patrick-Cape, which is scheduled to be held annually to visually show support.

Additionally, teal ribbons will be distributed through the first sergeants to wear on shirts that day. Teal is the sexual assault awareness color, and Team Patrick-Cape is encouraged to wear a teal shirt with their jeans, if you have one. 

Denim Day is a movement that began in response to an Italian Supreme Court decision in 1998, to overturn a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The argument was that the offender could not have removed the victim's tight jeans without her help; therefore, she must have consented to sex. The wearing of jeans on Denim Day serves as a visible means of raising awareness of the harmful myths that surround sexual assault, including those who blame the victim for the actions of the perpetrator.

There is no place for sexual assault in our Air Force. The success of the mission hangs on Airmen having complete trust and confidence in one another.  It will take everyone's participation to raise the standard and not tolerate conditions that do not promote dignity and respect for all. 

Be a good Wingman, not a bystander, and intervene when you see a bad situation developing.  Your timely input of just a few words can rescue a friend or create an environment where harassment is not tolerated. 

Never underestimate the power of being a positive example and role model for your fellow Airmen. 

So join in as Team Patrick-Cape creates a 'sea of blue denim' Nov. 7, to show support to the victims who walk among us and promote the prevention of sexual assault. 

Participants are encouraged to take pictures of yourself, and coworkers, in denim jeans and send them to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 45SW.CVK.SARCInnovationTeam@us.af.mil or use the hashtag #45SpaceWing or @45thSpace Wing. Photo submissions may be posted via the official Patrick Air Force Base website, the 45th Space Wing's Facebook pagetwitter and other websites.

Click on the links for additional resources and information:
45th Space Wing Denim Day Authorization Letter
Patrick Air Force Base Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program
Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention & Response
Department of Defense Safe Helpline