April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time meant to educate the public about sexual violence and how to prevent it.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one American becomes a victim of sexual assault every 68 seconds.
Both men and women suffer from this type of violence, as do children. Most child victims of sexual assault are between 12 and 17 years old.
Campaigns take place every April to raise awareness of this issue, and one of those campaigns is Denim Day, when people are encouraged to wear jeans or other denim clothing items in honor of sexual assault victims.
What Day is Denim Day?
Denim Day takes place on the last Wednesday of April every year. In 2022, that's April 27. The event encourages people to wear jeans or other clothing items made of denim as a symbol of protest against sexual assault, and to raise awareness of the misconceptions surrounding the crime.
When Did Denim Day Start?
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Peace Over Violence, an organization dedicated to stopping sexual and domestic violence, launched Denim Day in Los Angeles in 1999.
It was launched as part of an international protest following the Italian Supreme Court's 1998 decision to overturn the conviction of a driving instructor who had been convicted of raping an 18-year-old woman during her first driving lesson in 1992.
As part of the overturned decision, according to Peace Over Violence's website, the Chief Judge issued a statement where he argued, "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."
Women in the Italian Parliament began wearing jeans to work in protest of the ruling the next day, and the movement has spread across the world ever since.
What Resources Are There for Victims of Sexual Assault?
Victims of assault shouldn't feel guilt for what happened to them, RAINN advises. They're not responsible for something that happened to them without their consent.
Victims of sexual assault may also find it difficult to move on with their lives. If that's the case for you, you can call the National Sexual Assault Helpline, 1-800-656-4673, which offers free support to survivors of sexual violence.
From there, the hotline will provide you with local providers for services supporting victims of sexual assault in your area.
You can also find resources online by clicking here.
What Resources Exist in Los Angeles County?
In the Los Angeles area, you can call hotlines provided by Peace Over Violence. They "offer victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and intimate partner stalking emotional support, information, compassion, accompaniment, referral and advocacy services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
For Central Los Angeles, the number is 213-626-3393.
For South Los Angeles, the number is 310-392-8381.
For the West San Gabriel Valley, the number is 626-793-3385.
Services are also available in Spanish.
This article was translated from Spanish, and originally appeared on our sister site Telemundo 52.