ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, the Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center is celebrating National Denim Day. Staff will wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault, and are inviting others in the community to do the same. Alachua County Manager, Rick Drummond has given permission for all Alachua County employees to show support for sexual assault awareness and victims by wearing jeans to work on Denim Day.
Denim Day USA was created in response to the highest courts in Italy overturning a conviction of sexual assault because the victim wore tight jeans. Enraged by the verdict 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 motivated Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence in California, to create Denim Day.
One goal of the event is to dispel these common myths and misconceptions about sexual assault:
1) Myth: Rape is rare, and there is no need to talk about it.
Reality: Rape is an epidemic in the U.S. There is one rape every two minutes. It is likely each resident knows many people who have suffered sexual violence at some time in their lives; they do not feel supported and believed, so they do not talk about it.
2) Myth: Someone who does not fight back has not been raped.
Reality: A victim may not fight back for any number of reasons. The victim may feel it is not safe to do so. That fighting back would elicit more aggression by the offender. The victim may be in shock and "freeze." Just because she/he did not put up a fight doesn't mean that the victim is consenting. Rape has still occurred.
3) Myth: If someone is really raped they will have visible physical injuries.
Reality: It is a misconception that "real" rapes will produce serious physical injury. The majority of rape victims reported no physical injury. However, almost 50% of these victims describe being fearful of serious injury or death during the rape.
Anyone can sign-up to participate in Denim Day USA. Businesses and individuals can learn more by visiting the Denim Day national website, or by contacting Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center at 352-264-6760.
In addition to this project, free education and risk reduction programs are offered year round by Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center. To schedule a program for your business or group, contact Laura Kalt, Alachua County Education & Risk Reduction Project Coordinator at 352-393-7683.