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Denim Day, April 24, takes a stand against sexual assault

THINKSTOCK
THINKSTOCK

If you hate sexual assault, you had better wear some denim to prove it. If you hate denim, well, suck it up for the cause.

Wednesday, April 24, is Denim Day, an international awareness initiative to educate against sexual assault. The tradition began in the 1990s in Italy, when a driving instructor was convicted for raping his student, but later had the decision overturned because of her wardrobe choice. "Because the victim wore very, very tight jeans," the ruling reads, "she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape, but consensual sex.”

Unfortunately blaming a victim's clothing choice for inviting rape is not uncommon. (See Slutwalk.) That is why 15,000 city and county employees, UNLV students, faculty and staff and other mindful citizens will wear jeans tomorrow. This year's motto is "there is no excuse" — which calls on parents to discuss rape with their teenagers, and for all citizens to stop making jokes about rape and to support rather than stigmatize survivors of sexual assault.

“We must continue to remind victims that they are not to blame, and the community is here to help them heal,” said Daniele Dreitzer, executive director of The Rape Crisis Center. “Perpetrators need to understand their actions will not be tolerated and they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Sexual assault is a social issue against which everyone must take a stand.”