Family Service Agency Hangs Jeans on Denim Day to Show Support for Victims of Sexual Violence

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Denim Day. Photo courtesy of Family Service Agency of Burbank.

April was National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and The Family Service Agency (FSA) of Burbank hung jeans along their building the last week of April, in honor of Denim Day on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Denim Day is a quiet awareness campaign where millions of people across the world wear jeans to show support to victims of sexual violence.

Denim Day was started from an incident that happened in the late 90s when an 18-year-old girl in Italy was sexually assaulted by her 45-year-old driving instructor. Even though he threatened to kill her if she spoke up, the victim told her parents and pressed charges.

Her attacker was eventually convicted after an appeal but the conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court because she was wearing tight jeans. The Court decided that since her jeans were so tight, she must have taken them off herself, therefore showing an act of consent.

The ruling sparked a worldwide protest and women of the Italian Parliament wore jeans holding signs that said “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” The California State Senate and Assembly followed along in support and eventually the Italian Supreme Court overturned their decision and no longer allowed for the “denim” defense.

Denim Day has now become a symbolic day at the end of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in order to increase education in the community and support for victims.  Sexual assault occurs every 98 seconds and happens to 1 in 4 women, 1 in 3 girls, 1 in 4 boys, and 1 in 6 men, with only 28% of cases being reported.

The FSA in Burbank has participated in the Denim Day campaign for 17 years. “The jeans promote conversation, education, and help victims to find and share their voice” said  Christine A. Ramos, the Assistant Executive Director at Burbank’s FSA.

In regard to domestic violence, the FSA assists in…

  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support
  • Long-term transitional housing
  • Intervention services
  • Emergency housing and restraining order assistance
  • Advocacy
  • Therapeutic monitored visitation and safe exchange
  • Probation approved batterer’s intervention
  • Probation approved child abuser’s treatment
  • Probation approved anger management

For more information on resources available at the Burbank FSA visit www.familyserviceagencyofburbank.org or call 818-845-7671.

To report an assault you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline that is confidential and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 800-656-HOPE.