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'Denim Day' shows solidarity with survivors of sexual assault

Posted at 11:24 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 13:40:43-04

SALT LAKE CITY — With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Wednesday also marked "Denim Day," where people are encouraged to wear denim as a sign of solidarity with survivors of sexual assault.

The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault held an event at the Utah State Capitol building to raise awareness and to try and end the cycle of sexual violence.

"Denim Day" began in Italy in 1998 when its Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The justices ruled that because the victim was wearing very tight clothes, she must have taken them off herself, therefore the act was not rape, but consensual sex and the suspect was set free.

Outraged by the ruling, women in the Italian parliament arrived the next day wearing denim to protest the ruling and to show solidarity with the victim.

“A lot of messages in our world like to communicate otherwise but at the end of the day, it’s not your fault," said Emily Bernath, an author and sexual assault survivor. "And if someone doesn’t believe you, go find someone else that does because there are people out there who want to help.”

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and County Mayor Jenny Wilson spoke at Wednesday's event. Gill said that based on his experience in the courts, out of 100 women who experience sexual violence, 88 will not report the crime due to fear of being blamed.

Those who have questions, concerns, or want to report an act of sexual violence can find multiple resources available, including the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault which has said if they can’t help, they will find someone who will.