‘Denim Day’ in Nevada County creates discussion around sexual assault | TheUnion.com

‘Denim Day’ in Nevada County creates discussion around sexual assault

Submitted by Stephanie Fischer

April 25 will mark the 19th celebration of "Denim Day," a campaign in April, which is deemed Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Denim Day focuses on raising awareness about sexual abuse and the myths that surround it. Nearly 15 million people across the country participated in Denim Day in 2017 and this year, Community Beyond Violence (formerly the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Coalition) will bring it to Nevada County in full force.

In 1992, an 18-year-old girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor during a driving lesson. He was convicted, but in 1999, the court overturned the verdict on the premise that "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." Women of the Italian legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protest. In April 1999, a social service agency in Los Angeles established the first Denim Day in the United States.

Those who participate in Denim Day have been known to wear jeans or a denim shirt to work, a teal awareness ribbon or an awareness sticker stating, "I'm wearing jeans for a purpose." Many also post educational posters in work place break rooms for the month of April. Denim Day "took kits" are available through Community Beyond Violence (CBV), which suggests asking for a small $5 donation from anyone who wishes to wear denim as a way to raise awareness and funds to support survivors and the educational mission of Denim Day. All proceeds go to CBV to help provide services for victims of sexual assault in Nevada County. Those interested in joining the Denim Day campaign can sign up online at http://www.cbv.org. For more information, call 530-272-2046.

Last year, Community Beyond Violence provided crisis intervention services to 1,104 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization has served Western Nevada County since 1978, providing crisis intervention and prevention services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.