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    CRDAMC’s denim jeans parade recognizes sexual assault victims



    Story by Gloria Montgomery 

    Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center

    As Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Soldiers and civilians somberly paraded through the hospital’s atrium, each respectfully holding their wares like a folded flag, silence fell over the crowd. When the five-minute procession was over, 65 pairs of denim jeans lay neatly stacked on the table next to the podium.

    “These jeans represent victims of rape, “Sheilah Priori told the audience attending CRDAMC’s April 28 Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month observance.

    Priori, who spent a decade as a forensic examiner and victim advocate in the civilian sector and now heads CRDAMC’s Sexual Assault Medical Management Program, also reminded the audience of who the 65 pairs of jeans represent.

    “They are Soldiers, dependents and spouses,” she said, praising the Fort Hood victims for seeking help.

    “Now imagine the tremendous amount of courage and strength it took for those 65 victims to walk into our Emergency Department and tell the nurse what happened.”

    According to Staff Sgt. Juliane Becker, a victim advocate with the Public Health Command, denim jeans became a symbol of rape prevention and education 18 years ago when the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction declaring that it couldn’t have been rape since the victim likely assisted her attacker in removing her jeans since they were so tight.

    “In response, women in the Italian Parliament showed solidarity with the victim by wearing jeans to work,” she said adding that CRDAMC celebrated Denim Day April 26.

    Sgt. 1st Class Tonya Mullin, CRDAMC’s Equal Opportunity representative and one of the volunteers participating in the denim ceremony, said the procession captured the true meaning and importance of Sexual Assault and Awareness Prevention Month.

    “It was very emotional for me,” she said, “Because you realize that the jeans you are carrying represent a victim and their experience. It serves as a reminder that we all have a role in supporting victims of sexual assault.”

    Annually, there are more than 300,000 instances of rape and sexual assaults according to national statistics, said Col. Mark Thompson, CRDAMC hospital commander.

    “Behind those stats are real people whose lives are profoundly shattered and who are invariably in need of our help, commitment and protection,” said Col. Mark Thompson, CRDAMC hospital commander, thanking CRDAMC employees for being part of the solution to end sexual violence, as well as praising them for their compassion when assisting sexual assault victims within the Fort Hood community. “We are a caring organization and provide a tremendous service to those among us who have suffered in this way. We are also are setting the standard for our community, our organization and the Army.”

    The program also included remarks from Carol Kimmel, who shared her story of survival and recovery from sexual assault with the audience.

    “Yes, my journey was hard, but I look back and see how far I’ve come. I took back something that was taken from me and took over control,” said the Army veteran, adding she hopes her message of survival will give offer hope and encouragement to other victims of sexual violence.

    The ceremony ended the month-long observance, which began April 1 with a walk/run to honor victims of sexual assault, as well as an April 6 Sexual Assault and Prevention Month Fair featuring displays and information from various Fort Hood agencies.

    Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is held annually in April to stress the importance of supporting victims as they heal, holding offenders accountable and reaffirming the Army's commitment to creating an organization where violence is not tolerated and building a community based on respect, collaboration and unity. This year's SAAPM theme was "Sexual Assault. Sexual Harassment. Not in Our Army."

    Editor’s note:

    If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted you can visit the emergency department at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

    CRDAMC certified sexual assault medical forensic examiners provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to individuals who have experienced sexual assault. TRICARE beneficiaries 14 years and older can be evaluated in the emergency department up to one week (168 hours) following a sexual assault. Patients receive a complete sexual assault exam with evidence collection. The decision to report to law enforcement is up to the patient. Confidential services include: medication to treat sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy prophylaxis, follow up behavior health counseling, continued medical treatment and care.

    Contact the Charge Nurse or the On-Call SAMFE at 254-288-8114.
    Please refer general questions to 254-553-8745.



    Date Taken: 05.08.2017
    Date Posted: 12.29.2017 15:54
    Story ID: 260842
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

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