Denim Day raises sexual assault awareness Published April 1, 2008 By Capt. Marie Williams and Senior Airman Tiffany Davis Sexual Assault Response Coordinator ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In 1997, a teenage girl in Italy was picked up by her 45-year-old old driving instructor for her first lesson. He took her to an isolated location, pulled her out of the car and forcefully raped her. Despite threats that she would be killed if she told anyone, the girl reported the incident, and the case is prosecuted. The driving instructor was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. Months later, the perpetrator appealed the sentence, and the case made it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. The case against the driving instructor was overturned, and the perpetrator was released. In a statement released by the Head Judge, he stated, "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was no longer rape but consensual sex." Outraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament began what started out as a protest against the court case by wearing jeans to work. It began an annual international demonstration known as Denim Day. The wearing of jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. On April 25, Andersen will observe its very first Denim Day. All Team Andersen members are encouraged to show their support by wearing jeans with the Sexual Assault Awareness t-shirt to work on April 25. It will serve as a visible means of protest against myths that surround sexual assault. Together, we can stamp out ignorance by awareness. When you participate in Denim Day you: 1. Make it possible for more sexual assault survivors to reach out and find help. 2. Promote prevention through education so sexual violence doesn't occur. 3. Encourage institutional and societal change. 4. Make a powerful statement without ever saying a word. When is a victim of sexual assault at fault? Never. The following are events taking place during Sexual Assault Prevention Month: 5K run/walk Showtime is at 6:30 a.m. April 4 at the Palm Tree Golf Course Clubhouse parking lot. Free self-defense classes The classes are from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. April 7 and 12 at the Coral Reef Fitness Center aerobics room. Bowl-a-thon The bowl-a-thon is at noon April 15 at the Gecko Lanes Bowling Alley. Denim Day Denim Day is on April 25. Purchase a Sexual Assault Awareness t-shirt so you can wear jeans to work. For more information, call the SARC office at 366-7714/5.