By Freya Constable
Thinking about a topic for this month’s Editor’s Letter, I decided to reflect on an event that has gathered a large amount of support over this April month. Sexual assault awareness month has been greatly endorsed and highlighted this year, especially in our school. RSJU and GSA are both clubs that have been greatly involved in spreading awareness for this particular issue. So much so, that many others have gotten involved and it has allowed us to educate ourselves greatly. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of SAAM (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), but the beginning of the movement can be traced back long before. The roots that allowed this movement to grow consisted of many other major events in history such as the founding of the first rape crisis centers, to the Civil Rights Movement. Today, in an effort to bring about awareness and show your support, we have, what has been named ‘Denim Day’. The reason behind this is devastating, but the way that we use such a reason to better our society is incredibly important. It can be traced back to Italy in the 1990s, where an 18-year-old girl filed a rape report against her driving instructor. The perpetrator was arrested, charged and sent to jail to only years later appeal to the charge. The Italian Supreme Court picked it up and ruled it ‘consensual’ as the young girl was wearing tight jeans. The women in the Italian Parliament were enraged by the verdict and in protest, wore jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. Since then, supporters have come together on the last Wednesday of April to protest the myth that it is due to what you are wearing that victims are sexually assaulted and raped. We must put behind us the misconceptions and excuses for actions such as this; the victim-blaming that comes with stepping forward and speaking a truth that is so hard to do. Although nothing can take away the infliction of trauma on such victims, we can show support in our daily lives and raise awareness on how to properly help any person coming forward.
Editor Freya Constable