ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - On April 23, 2008, the Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center staff will join thousands nationwide in making a social statement with their fashion statement. They will wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault, and they invite others in the community to do the same.
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: Only girls or women can be sexually assaulted.
Reality: Although the majority of rape victims are females, many males are still victims of rape every year.
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 national website www.denimdayinla.org or contacting Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center. In addition to this project, free education and risk reduction programs are offered year round by Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center.
Please contact Laura Kalt, Education & Risk Reduction Project Coordinator to schedule a program for your business or group by calling 352-264-6760.