Distribution recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Command Affairs

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.” DLA Distribution, following the Department of Defense, observes this month by focusing on creating the appropriate culture to eliminate sexual assault.

“This year’s theme is especially fitting for our mission of supporting the warfighter at DLA,” explains Distribution Sexual Assault Response Coordinator A.J. Byerly. “If we work together, we can create an environment that reduces sexual assault and supports survivorsIt is all of our responsibility to recognize behavior and speak out if you hear or see something that perpetuates a culture of sexual assault.”  

To show their support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Distribution’s Commanding Officer Navy Rear Adm. Kevin M. Jones and Deputy Commander Twila C. Gonzales, Senior Executive Service, signed a proclamation stating their intentions to be a part of the solution to end sexual violence. Commanders, directors and deputies from each of the 24 distribution centers also signed proclamations.

Additionally, the Distribution network will host a variety of other events throughout the month to bring awareness to the fact that sexual violence remains an intolerable crime.

DLA Distribution San Joaquin, California hosted a basketball shootout April 10. Teams consisting of three members each were given 30 seconds to make as many free throw shots as possible. The purpose of the activity was to show team mates working together to show zero tolerance for sexual assault.

Employees across the enterprise are encouraged to wear denim April 24 in support of Denim Day. The day grew out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The justices felt that because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consentFollowing this verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victimThe Italian Supreme Court has since overturned their findings, and there is no longer a “denim” defense to the charge of rape.  

Also on April 24, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program will be hosting a Sexual Assault Awareness 5K Fun Run/ Walk at the Defense Distribution Center, Susquehanna site.

“Employees are encouraged to wear teal, the color of sexual assault on every Tuesday in April,” said Byerly.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the DLA SAPR Hotline at 1-800-841-0937 and make a report and/or get resources for help.