By Cheryl Bowdridge
Special to The PREVIEW
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP) is sponsoring an awareness event to bring the community together around this important issue. Denim Day is Wednesday, April 29, at noon at the Bell Tower.
In 1997 in Rome, Italy, an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor, who was later convicted and sentenced to jail. The perpetrator appealed the sentence and his case went to the Italian Supreme Court, where the case was overturned.
The head judge released a statement arguing that, because the victim wore tight jeans, he assumed that she must have helped her perpetrator remove her jeans and, therefore, consented. Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans on the steps of the Italian Parliament building. This was the beginning of what has become a worldwide event and movement to wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault.
Locally, participants will gather together at noon, Wednesday, April 29, at the Bell Tower on Lewis Street. Community members are invited to wear denim and “Walk a Mile in Their Jeans” in support of survivors of sexual violence.
While not really a mile, it’s sure to be an experience where the community can show their support for this important cause.
One in five women will be a victim of sexual assault between the ages of 18 and 24; every two minutes, another sexual assault takes place in America. With these kinds of statistics, it is important that we rally together and show support and become more aware of the effects that sexual assault has on our community. Even if you cannot attend the gathering, be sure and wear denim on Wednesday, April 29, to show your support.
This April, make the commitment to be part of the solution and help end sexual assault and sexual abuse in our community.
ACVAP is a nonprofit organization that promotes the belief that all people have the right to live free from violence. ACVAP provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving over 400 victims each year. ACVAP also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs.
Visit www.acvap.org for more information or call 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today. Or, if you want to be part of the team to help those in our backyards, volunteers for advocacy are always needed and welcomed.