Denim Day for Sexual Assault Awareness/ Prevention
All residents, businesses, agencies, students and school personnel are invited to participate in the sexual assault awareness/prevention campaign on April 26 called “Denim Day” by wearing jeans or denim “with a purpose” on that day to support the “NOMORE” (excuses for sexual assault) campaign.
On the last Wednesday in April every year, millions of advocates around the country participate by wearing denim jeans, jackets, etc. to address one of the major misconceptions about sexual assault which is that what someone wears is an excuse for rape. This is a form of blaming the victim. Other misconceptions are if someone has had too much to drink and doesn’t really know what she/he is saying or doing, it’s okay to take advantage of the person. Sexual assault and rape is a crime and there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape.
This international campaign is being promoted locally by the Haywood County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault/Elder Abuse Task Force and REACH of Haywood County, our county’s 501(c) 3 DV/SA/EA prevention and intervention agency, and nationally by the Peace Over Violence organization.
Denim Day began in 1999 in response to something that happened in Italy the year before. An 18 year old girl was picked up by her married, 45 year old driving instructor for her first driving lesson. He took her to an isolated road and forcefully raped her. Threatened with death if she told anyone, he made her drive home. Later that night, she told her parents and they helped her and supported her to press charges. Although a lower court found the rapist guilty, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction because, in a statement from the Chief Judge, he said “since the victim wore very tight jeans, she had to help remove them and thus it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours, the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action spread around the world and has continued every year since.
For more information, contact REACH of Haywood at 828.456.7898.