Denim Day brings awareness for sexual assault victims

LEWISTON, ID - You've probably seen them at several locations around the Valley, jeans on display.

Denim Day has become one of the biggest awareness campaigns around the country. It's part of a global effort to raise awareness for sexual assault victims.

It's not quite casual Friday but the ladies at the YWCA in Lewiston are wearing jeans. They're making more than just a fashion statement, they're honoring Denim Day, an awareness campaign about sexual violence.

Denim Day came about in 1999 when an Italian court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. Something the court said could not have been removed without the victim's help.

Since then, wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest to dispel the myths about sexual violence.

YWCA Child Advocate Nellie Frost wants victims to get the support they need.

"We don't want victims to be re-victimized by our justice system," said Frost. "Everybody knows that we are not okay with sexual assault and that we start to change the belief system of other people so that they're not okay with sexual assault and are fighting the good fight."

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, someone in the United states is sexually assaulted every two minutes. At least 80% of all sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance of the victim and one in 4 college women will be the victim of a sexual assault during her academic career.

At Lewis Clark State College and Walla Walla Community College, the message is loud and clear.

The jeans are decorated with messages like "no means no" and "stop the violence." The point of the messages is to get people talking about sexual assault prevention.

"A lot of people don't know that sexual assault is such a big issue," said LCSC student Sara Twohig. "We don't realize how many people it touches and effects. By having a visual message then we can really get out to the community that this is an issue that people need to start talking about and become more aware of."

The YWCA will hold a walk Thursday, April 26th for sexual assault awareness.

Everyone is encouraged to meet at Gateway Park in Clarkston at 5:15 p.m. to walk across the bridge to the Y.