PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J - During the month of February, Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Alberta Cole, collected approximately 80 pairs of jeans that were donated by Picatinny Arsenal employees, and which will be decorated in support of Denim Day on April 26.
The jeans will be marked with slogans such as “no means no,” and will be displayed around the Picatinny Arsenal garrison community.
Denim Day encourages people to wear denim jeans to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault. The observance is on the last Wednesday of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The use of jeans to observe the awareness month dates back to an Italian court case. In 1992, a 45-year-old driving instructor in Rome was accused of rape. When he picked up an 18-year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he allegedly raped her for an hour, then told her that he would kill her if she told anyone. Later that night she told her parents, who helped her press charges.
The alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, but the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. The court argued that she must have helped her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual. The high court stated that “It is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.”
In 2008, the Italian Supreme Court overturned its findings, thus eliminating a “denim” defense to the charge of rape.
In the United States, the first rape crisis center was founded in San Francisco in 1971, the same city where the first U.S. “Take Back the Night” event was held seven years later. Picatinny Arsenal will host its own “Take Back the Night” event on April 21.
Over the decades, survivors of rape and their allies have mobilized to advocate for legislation and funding to support rape survivors, such as the Violence Against Women Act of 1993.
Even before Sexual Assault Awareness Month was first nationally observed in 2001, advocates had been holding events, marches, and observances related to sexual violence during April, sometimes during a week-long “Sexual Assault Awareness Week.”
Picatinny Arsenal will observe Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month the entire month of April.
“My goal is to educate my community about the effects of sexual assault and harassment,” Cole said. “I want my community members and their families to be safe.”
The following events will be taking place during the month of April. The SHARP office will send information about each event to installation employees via email.
April 3- 9:30 a.m. Proclamation signing
April 5, 12, 19 - Annual training. Teams link will be provided at a later date
April 6 – Guest speaker - Russell Strand will be speaking on Harmful behaviors in the workplace – 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
April 11 - Denim jeans painting 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
April 13, 18, 24 – 10:30 a.m. - Painting for prevention or (sip and paint)
April 19 – Guest speaker Morris County Sex Crimes Division – 10 a.m.
April 20 – Jeans hung around the installation
April 21 – 6 – 10 p.m. - Take Back the Night Walk
April 26 – 9: 30 a.m. - Denim Day Annual Photo
More information below:
Garrison SHARP Hotline: 862.210.0296
DOD Safe Helpline: 877.995.5247
Morris Cares Hotline: 973.829.0587
NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault: 800.601.7200
1.877. R. U. ABUSED
Army one stop shop: https://www.sharplearningportal.army.mil