HGH Employees Wear Jeans in Support of Sexual Assault Awareness

Employees at Humboldt General Hospital will don their denim this week as a show of support against sexual assault.

The group will participate in Denim Day, an annual campaign that is held internationally each April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

The rape prevention education campaign asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans on Denim Day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

This year's Denim Day is April 29, 2015.

Demin Day began in the 1990s in Italy after an 18-year old girl was taken by her 45-year-old driving instructor to an isolated road where she was forcibly raped. The man threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone. However, later that night, the girl told her parents, who helped and supported her as she pressed charges. The man was subsequently arrested and convicted of rape.

The man appealed the conviction and the case made it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor was overturned. In a statement, the Chief Judge argued that "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."

Within a matter of hours enraged women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in Los Angeles was born.

That was in 1999 and the observance has continued every year since, including in Nevada where the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence leads statewide efforts, and Winnemucca Domestic Violence Services oversees local efforts.

Humboldt General Hospital Employee Committee President Rick McComb said HGH staff was pleased to bring awareness to sexual violence by participating in Denim Day.

"We wanted to join with others in stating that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape," he said.