Camp Lejeune, North Carolina --
Camp Lejeune Marines with Supply Company, 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group traded their camouflage uniform for denim jeans for one day to show support for survivors of sexual assault and to raise awareness about sexual violence on April 24, 2019.
The Marines took part in the rapidly growing annual campaign known as Denim Day, which boasts approximately 8.5 million participants globally.
“We wanted a way to show our Marines that the command cares about sexual assault prior to an incident occurring,” said Sgt. Anna Cain, a uniformed victims advocate for Supply Company. “It’s our way of saying we’re here for you and we support you 100 percent.”
The uniformed victims’ advocates for Supply Company coordinated the event and held a guided discussion at the end of the day so the Marines could discuss what they learned.
“So many units receive static classes once a year that focus on sexual assault prevention,” said McCluskey, a uniformed victims advocate for Supply Company. “With this event, we really focused on engaging the Marines, getting them talking about how we can support victims, and how we can prevent sexual violence.”
According to Cain, the event got the Marines more open to talk about sexual assault prevention, a notoriously sensitive subject, as it gave them the unique opportunity to wear civilian attire at work.
“It’s nice to be able to take a break from wearing a uniform,” said Lance Cpl. Dylan Sklinzing, an inventory management specialist with Supply Company. “Everyone’s been asking why we’re all in civilian attire, and it starts a conversation when you’re able to tell people that it’s for Denim Day.”
On the website, denimdayinfo.org, it says the Denim Day campaign focuses on wearing jeans as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence. The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.
“It’s important to teach people that regardless of what someone is wearing they should feel safe, and not have to be afraid,” said Pfc. John Aldan, an inventory management specialist with Supply Company.
Along with prevention, Marines discussed the resources available to victims of sexual assault, such as medical care, counseling services, and the ability to report the incident to law enforcement.
“I hope that we can inspire other sections and companies to participate in the future,” said McCluskey. “The more people we get talking about prevention and available resources, the more people we can help.”