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I Corps and JBLM units honor Denim Day to raise sexual assault awareness

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Roshandra Womack, sexual assault response coordinator for the 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, hangs denim pants around the brigade headquarters, April 23, 2024. Photo credit: Capt. Angelo Mejia

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord - In a unified show of support for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM), I Corps and various units within Joint Base Lewis-McChord participated in Denim Day, an annual event aimed at combating sexual violence through public awareness. At the heart of the observance, soldiers from the 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade (E-MIB) gathered to hang denim pants, symbolizing the campaign's roots and the ongoing fight against victim blaming.

Sgt. 1st Class Roshandra Womack, the sexual assault response coordinator (SARC) for the 201st E-MIB, played a pivotal role in the day's events.

"Denim Day stands as a powerful reminder that clothing should never be viewed as a pretext for assault," Womack explained. "It's about educating our community and reaffirming our commitment to support survivors and prevent future assaults."

The origins of Denim Day trace back to a rape conviction that happened in 1992 that was overturned in a controversial decision by the Italian Supreme Court in 1998. This led to widespread outcry and the birth of Denim Day, symbolizing solidarity with survivors and a stand against misconceptions surrounding sexual assault.

Activities extended to Madigan Hospital, where denim pants were also displayed, symbolizing the broad support across JBLM. "Each pair of jeans represents a stand we take together as a force against the misperceptions that surround sexual assault," said Womack.

I Corps' Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Specialist, Sabrina Miller, also weighed in on the significance of these efforts. "Participating in Denim Day is just one aspect of our year-round commitment to fostering a safe environment," noted Miller. "We must keep this conversation active, ensuring every service member knows they are not alone and we are here to support them."

During Denim Day, the focus will be on wearing denim pants and showcasing informational signs around JBLM explaining the event's significance. "Awareness is the first step toward change. By openly addressing these issues, we empower individuals to seek help and support others," added Miller.

The event's impact was evident as Denim Day wrapped up at JBLM. "Seeing so many in our community, military and civilian alike, participate in Denim Day gives me hope," said Sgt. 1st Class Womack. "It's a testament to our soldiers' and their families' strength and resilience. Together, we're building a culture of respect and support."

With continued support and awareness initiatives like Denim Day, I Corps and JBLM remain committed to fighting sexual assault within the ranks, supporting survivors, and ensuring all service members serve in a safe and respectful environment.

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