By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderApril 12, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson is participating in a variety of events in April to highlight Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The events, scheduled for both on and off post, are designed to spread the Army's message that sexual misconduct is unacceptable.
"We will not tolerate it," said Master Sgt. Dietra Woods, Fort Jackson's Equal Opportunity Program manager.
Part of Fort Jackson's event planning involved carrying the message off post to civilians.
"There was an impression out there that we don't have any programs for victims," she said. "We want the civilian population to know we're doing something in reference to sexual assault."
The goal of this month's activities is to raise awareness and promote the prevention of sexual violence through special events and education. Several events have been scheduled throughout the month in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The campaign began April 4 with a "Consent is Sexy Party" at a restaurant off post, Woods said.
Organized by Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, Fort Jackson's Equal Opportunity Program attended the event as a show of support. That same week, T-shirts were created and placed in display at the Strom Thurmond Building at Fort Jackson bearing a variety of messages about sexual assault.
Some of those messages were symbolic, Woods said. The white shirts represent women who died because of violence, and yellow represents battered or assaulted women. Each of the colors stand for something different, and connect to a campaign effort created by The Clothes Line Project, a national organization created to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women.
Fort Jackson's clothes line display will be moved to the Exchange today, Woods said, to reach visitors who come on post for graduation. Upcoming sexual assault awareness events are more interactive, she said. Fort Jackson personnel will participate in Walk a Mile in her Shoes, a public event sponsored by Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. Men are literally asked to walk one mile in women's high heeled shoes to protest sexual violence, educate their communities and raise money for rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other sexual violence revention and recovery services.
Men, women and children of all ages are invited to participate, individually or in teams. Men should come prepared with footwear. The event begins 6 p.m., April 18 outside the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in the Vista.
"Team Jackson will be there with more than 10 members," Woods said, primarily victim advocates who work the post's Sexual Harassment Assault Response & Prevention Program, or SHARP, hotline. "We're having both our males and our females participating. They want the men to do this; women are there for support."
You can register online for the event at www.stsm.org.
The Soldier Support Institute is hosting a sexual assault awareness breakfast 8 a.m., April 22 at the Officers' Club. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased from the Equal Opportunity Office.
On April 26, Fort Jackson will be observing Denim Day, an event in which people are encouraged to wear jeans in order to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. The post is hosting an organized event at Semmes Lake behind the Outdoor Recreation building, encouraging people to wear jeans and walk around the lake. The event was originally prompted by a rape conviction in Italy that was overturned by the courts in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. The argument was that the victim must have helped the attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual.
"They tried to blame it on her clothes," Woods said. "The Army doesn't do victim blaming."
The event takes place from 11:40 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.