Hundreds of people on Hawaii Island joined the Zonta Club of Hilo and wore jeans April 23 as part of “Denim Day,” an international campaign to raise awareness around sexual violence issues and support survivors of sexual assault.
The Zonta Club of Hilo and the Prosecuting Attorney’s staff met outside the County Aupuni Center for a show of denim and support for equal treatment. Local businesses including Suisan Company, Day-Lum Properties, Hastings &Pleadwell and Supergized also observed the day and wore jeans in symbolic protest against sexual violence. A representative from the Mayor’s Office was on hand to present the group with a proclamation that called for peace over violence and an end to sexual assault.
Held each April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Denim Day recalls an Italian court case that sparked international outrage when judges overturned a rape conviction of a driving instructor because the teenage victim wore tight jeans. The judges contended that because the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her attacker remove them, thus implying consent.
Still now in 2014, nearly one in five women and one in 33 men in the U.S. have experienced or will experience sexual violence during their lifetimes, according to the Rape, Assault and Incest National Network (RAINN). This equates to a sexual assault happening every two minutes; 44 percent of these victims are under 18.
About the Zonta Club of Hilo
The Zonta Club of Hilo was founded in 1950 and is part of Zonta International, a global organization of executives and professionals working to advance the status of women and girls around the world through service and advocacy.
To learn more about the club’s service projects, special events, advocacy efforts and scholarship opportunities, visit www.zontahilo.org.