ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments) is leading a rape prevention education campaign that encourages community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans April 26 as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

Denim Day, as it’s known, has its roots in an assault that happened in 1992 in Italy.

An 18-year-old girl was picked up by her driving instructor to begin a driving lesson. Soon after, she was raped on the side of the road by the instructor. She pressed charges and won her case. The instructor appealed and the case went to the Italian High Court.

In 1999 the court overturned the conviction with a member of the High Court declaring that since the victim wore very tight jeans, the instructor could not have removed them himself; therefore, the victim must have willingly participated.

Women of the Italian Legislature protested this decision by wearing jeans. As news of the decision spread, so did the protest.

In April 1999 the state of California established the first Denim Day in the United States. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

This year the theme for Denim Day is “Step Forward.”

Any business, school or agency that would like to participate in Denim Day can encourage its employees or students to wear jeans.

ALIVE is a crisis intervention agency working with adults and children impacted by domestic violence, which includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

For further information, people should contact Cathy Covington at 636-583-9863.