The Family Service Agency (FSA) of Burbank has launched a campaign in honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month leading up to Denim Day on April 26th. Denim Day is a way millions of people across the world wear jeans in support of sexual violence victims.
An awareness flyer is being shared out by the FSA to educate people on the history of Denim Day and why it was created. The flyer tells the story of an 18-year-old girl in Italy who was sexually assaulted by her 45-year-old driving instructor in the late 90’s who 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 provides trauma informed individual therapy, art therapy and support groups for victims of sexual violence. Art therapy allows those that have a hard time talking about trauma, express their feelings in a creative and comforting way. 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.