Dress in denim April 23 — no excuses

Apr 16, 2014

All residents, businesses, agencies, students and school personnel are invited to participate in the sexual assault awareness/prevention campaign on April 23 called "Denim Day" by wearing jeans or denim on that day to recognize that there is no excuse for sexual assault, no matter what someone is wearing.

This international campaign with thirteen "No Excuses" is the theme being promoted by the Haywood County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force and there will be jeans displays in various locations throughout the county in the week leading up to Denim Day.

On Denim Day, the Task Force will have an awareness display in front of the library at Haywood Community College at noon, with gifts and information for all.

Denim Day was first organized by a group called Peace Over Violence in the United States and it began in 1999 in response to something that happened in Italy the year before. The Italian case involved an 18 year old girl who was picked up by her married, 45 year old driving instructor for her first lesson.

He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, wrestled her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully raped her. Threatened with death if she told anyone, he made her drive the car home. Later that night, she told her parents, and they helped her and supported her to press charges.

The rapist got arrested, was prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced to jail. He appealed the sentence. The case made it to the Italian Supreme Court, who overturned the verdict. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex."

It was later interpreted that anyone who was wearing jeans could not prosecute an attacker for rape. 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.

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