The Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Hastings asking employees through the city to wear blue jeans to work Wednesday to show support for victims of sexual assault.
Wednesday is Denim Day and the local SASA office has participated in the observance for four years to highlight the problem of sexual assault. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Ashleigh Drudik, SASA community educator, said that any business planning to participate in the event should contact her at 402-463-5810. She said the plan is to take pictures at local businesses that show support and then post those images to social media sites to generate awareness of the issue.
Denim Day started after a sexual assault case from 1992 in Italy where an 18-year-old woman was raped by her driving instructor. She pressed charges and the driving instructor was convicted.
The driving instructor appealed the case to the Italian High Court and the court overturned the conviction in 1999. The High Court declared that the victim must have been a willingly participant because she was wearing tight jeans and the instructor could not have removed them by himself.
After the High Court’s decision was released, women in the Italian Legislature protested by wearing jeans to work and the protest spread from there.
“It doesn’t matter what you wear, it can happen to anyone, anywhere and I think Denim Day really promotes that idea,” Drudik said.
SASA helps victims of sexual assault cope with the trauma associated with rape. Drudik said events like Denim Day provide a way to support sexual assault victims, raise awareness of the problem and alleviate some of the stress that goes with the job.
“It’s not an easy job but events like this help us pull together and make it very successful,” she said.