Wear denim to support survivors of sexual violence


By Mara Koch

Special to The SUN

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program is sponsoring an awareness event to bring the community together around this important issue. Denim Day is Wednesday, April 23, at noon at the Bell Tower Park in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Denim Day is a worldwide event that confronts the myths and misconceptions that surround sexual assault. In 1997 in Rome, Italy, an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor, who was convicted and sentenced to jail. The decision was appealed and then overturned in the Italian Supreme Court. The head judge stated that because the victim wore tight jeans, he assumed that she must have helped the perpetrator remove her jeans and, therefore, consented. Enraged women of the Italian Parliament immediately launched into action by wearing jeans on the steps of Parliament in protest. On Denim Day, communities worldwide wear jeans as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

Locally, participants will gather together at noon, Wednesday, April 23, at the Bell Tower Park on the corner of U.S. 160 and Lewis Street. All community members are invited to wear denim to show their protest of sexual violence and then “Walk a Mile in Their Shoes” to show support for survivors of sexual violence. While not really a mile, it’s sure to be an experience of community camaraderie and support for this important cause. Special guest Tim Sullivan will be there, singing his poignant song “Ending the Silence,” which focuses on sexual abuse and assault.

Even if you cannot attend the gathering, be sure and wear denim on Wednesday, April 23, to show your support and that there is no excuse for sexual assault.