Denim Day recognized in Grayson County
SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - April 28th is Denim Day, a worldwide day of awareness for sexual assault prevention. What the day represents and how local organizations are showing support to Texoma survivors.
“There is a perpetrator of this crime and there is a victim,” said Shelli Shields, Executive Director for the Grayson Crisis Center.
Denim Day began in 1999 when an Italian sexual assault case was overturned after the perpetrator claimed the victim’s jeans were too tight to remove without her help, implying consent. The next day, the women of the Italian Parliament came to work in jeans in solidarity of the victim. The movement to stand with victims took off from there.
“Our goal for this day has really been how do we get the conversation started? How do we help people be more comfortable talking about myths about sexual assault,” said Mickinze Vanherpen, Community Education Coordinator for the Grayson Crisis Center.
“The first step is asking for help, letting someone who’s trained in those areas here at the crisis center answer a lot of those questions for you,” said Shields.
The Grayson Crisis Center said last year alone they helped 72 local sexual assault victims.
“Unfortunately we do see sexual assault cases all throughout the year. We investigate those thoroughly every time we get those reports and we do our best to make good cases and get good prosecution,” said Sherman Police Sgt. Brett Mullen.
Mullen said they too wore jeans Wednesday to stand with survivors.
“If you are the victim of sexual assault or sexual violence you need to tell somebody about it. That way others can get involved and we can get the crime investigated and those who have harmed you, we can get them behind bars where they belong,” said Mullen.
Shields said education is a big part of awareness. The CDC says in the U.S. 1 in 5 women say they are victims of rape. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network or RAINN says 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone who knew the victim, and 82% of sexual assaults committed by a friend of acquaintance go unreported.
“If we don’t know what’s happening how do we do something about it?” said Vanherpen.
Other local organizations like the Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center and United Way also took part Wednesday.
“Start talking. Give us a call, be interested, invite us to come out and have a conversation,” said Vanherpen.
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