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Assemblywoman Urges New Jerseyans to Wear Jeans as Part of Campaign to Raise Awareness, Education about Rape & Sexual Assault

(ENGLEWOOD) – Assembly Human Services Committee Chairwoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on Tuesday urged residents across New Jersey to take part in ‘Denim Day in NJ 2010’ – part of a national campaign to raise awareness and educate the public about sexual assault and rape – by wearing jeans to work on Wednesday, April 28.

Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), the prime sponsor of the legislation that established an annual Denim Day in New Jersey, is scheduled to attend a Denim Day event hosted by the YWCA of Bergen County. The Denim Day event is scheduled to begin 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 28, on the steps of the Bergen County Justice Center, 10 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601.

“Wearing jeans to work or school may seem like a small gesture, but to an individual who has been sexually assaulted or abused, it is a huge sign of solidarity,” said Vainieri Huttle. “It also serves to remind victims of rape and sexual assault that they are not alone and they are not at fault for what happened.”

Denim Day observances have their origins in the 1997 rape of an 18-year-old Italian woman by her 45-year-old driving instructor. The instructor was arrested, convicted and sent to jail, but his sentence was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, which argued that because the victim had worn tight jeans, she would have had to have assisted in their removal, thereby making it consensual sex.

The supreme court’s verdict so enraged women in the Italian Parliament that they protested by wearing jeans to work.

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