POZNAN, Poland– USAG-Poland held an observance for Denim Day at Camp Kosciuszko, Poland, April 26, 2023. The event was held in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Denim Day is an annual event on the last Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“Sexual Assault is a very silent, under reported, and very difficult issue to talk about,” said Josh Gray, the U.S. Army Garrison - Poland Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Victim Advocate. “By wearing denim on that designated day, we support survivors and give them a voice.”
The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a overturned a rape conviction because the court felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.
“We celebrate Denim Day in honor of a woman who was forcibly raped by her driving instructor,” said Gray. “The woman pressed charges, but the case was dismissed.”
The court’s ruling triggered protests globally. Women wore jeans to work to show solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it.
Sexual assault is a crime, a violation of our Army core values and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Denim Day is a day to show your support for sexual assault survivors and to eliminate victim blaming,” said Gray. “Denim Day is a safe, gender neutral, very easy thing to do to support survivors.”
The success of the observance was a result of USAG-Poland's collaboration with its Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and supporting units.
“My SARC and I did some networking with the United Service Organization, Red Cross, and a few other SHARP units including V Corps, and 120th Regional Support Group,” said Gray. “It was a success after a few minor adjustments.”
USAG-Poland and V Corps are proudly working alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces in support of V Corps, America's forward deployed corps in Europe.
The Department of Defenses’ Safe Helpline, 877-995-5247, or www.safehelpline.org, is a 24/7 anonymous, confidential hotline, with one-on-one peer support, information and resources for members of the DoD and their loved ones affected by sexual assault.