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YARS recognizes Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month throughout April

  • Published
  • By Eric M. White
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Disclaimer: This story references sexual violence. Reader discretion is advised. The DoD Safe Helpline is available at and provides anonymous, confidential, 24/7 support to members of the DoD community and their loved ones affected by sexual assault.

Youngstown Air Reserve Station is wrapping up its recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month after several activities throughout April.

Shelly Trimble is the 910th Airlift Wing’s sexual assault response coordinator. She facilitated many of the month’s activities.

“The importance of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is to raise awareness of sexual assault within the Air Force,” said Trimble. “The DoD theme for SAAPM is ‘Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission.’ SAAPM is an opportunity for the 910th Airlift Wing to protect each other, and that helps us protect our mission.”

On April 2, installation employees wore teal clothing or ribbons to work. Teal is known nationally as the color of sexual violence prevention. Col. Joe Janik, 910th Airlift Wing commander, said that wearing teal during SAAM is a way to show support to victims of sexual assault and raise awareness of Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Month. Trimble offered teal ribbons for base employees to wear.

At the beginning of the month, the 910th Security Forces Squadron adorned their patrol vehicles with teal ribbons donated by the Trumbull Country Rape Crisis Center. Law enforcement professionals are often first responders to sexual assaults. The teal ribbons are a visual display of support and acknowledgement of the allies and advocates available within the 910th SFS.

Formal recognition of SAAPM concluded on April 28, as the installation held a denim day. Trimble says the day has an important historical significance in the fight against sexual assault.

“Denim Day goes back to a 1998 sexual assault case in Italy where an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor,” said Trimble. “The case went to the Italian Supreme Court where it was overturned based on a statement by the chief judge, who argued that because the victim wore very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex. The next day, women serving in the Italian parliament showed up to work wearing jeans as a show of solidarity with the victim. Since then, Denim Day is celebrated internationally on a Wednesday in April during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.”

Col. Casey Dodds, interim commander of the 910th Airlift Wing, authorized base personnel, military and civilian, to wear denim for the day. 

Trimble says the 910th’s SAAM activities are a small but important piece of the puzzle in reducing military-related sexual assaults down to zero.

“Activities such as Teal Day, Denim Day and teal ribbons on SFS cruisers are ways to raise awareness of sexual assault and celebrate SAAPM while maintaining social distancing during COVID-19,” said Trimble.