Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, Texas' adjutant general, signing a proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the Texas Military Forces, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, April 3, 2012.
Photograph from event featuring Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, Texas' adjutant general, signing a proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the Texas Military Forces, at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, April 3, 2012.

 

Story by Maj. Paula Rodriguez and Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain
 

 CAMP MABRY, Texas – On April 3, Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, the adjutant general of Texas, and Command Sgt. Maj.  Bradley C. Brandt, the state’s senior enlisted advisor, signed a proclamation designating this month as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Texas Military Forces will hold numerous activities highlighting the  importance of preventing and responding to sexual violence and assault.

 These efforts will continue to promote education and training to create an environment where sexual assault is rejected,  and a culture of prevention, response and accountability flourishes.

 Not only does sexual assault irrevocably hurt, denigrate and violate the victim’s life, it can directly impact every member of our unit, and our mission. As a force, the National Guard must be ready to quickly and efficiently deploy, whether overseas for contingency operations or in response to state disasters, such as wildfires and hurricanes. Our readiness depends on our ability to act as a team and for each of us to be able to depend on one another.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program is a Department of Defense initiative to “ensure the safety, dignity and well being of all members of the Armed Forces.”

“Denim Day” will be our most comprehensive SAAM initiative, and will take place on April 25, 2012. A rape prevention education program, “Denim Day” is held in honor of a woman who was forcibly raped by her driving instructor. The perpetrator’s conviction was overturned, according to the chief judge, “…because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape, but consensual sex.”

On Wednesday, April 25, TXMF personnel can wear jeans to work after they learn about the history of “Denim Day” and receive a “Jean Pocket” sticker from the SAPR office. The purpose of wearing the jeans is to make a public statement to combat misconceptions surrounding sexual violence.

Other state and unit level SAAM activities will include the distribution of posters and handouts, mobile training activities, a Fun Run and 5K, as well as candlelight vigil.

Additionally, a joint event with SafePlace, a local crisis center, will take place during the Texas Military Forces Open House & American Heroes Air Show at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, April 21-22, 2012.

All sexual assault victims that contact a SAPR office are treated with dignity, fairness and respect. The office works to help restore victim's health and well-being, and ensure senior leaders understand that allegations of sexual assault must be thoroughly investigated and that appropriate administrative and disciplinary action be taken against perpetrators.

To learn more about the SAPR program, please visit www.sapr.mil or contact the state office at SARC@TX.NGB.Army.Mil. Additionally, you can get our latest updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TexasMilForceSARC.

Victims of sexual assault can call the 24/7 Safe Helpline at (877) 995-5547.

Staff Sgt. Phil Fountain contributed to this story.