Sexual Assault Awareness Month at Luther College

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Luther College invites the Decorah community to join in participating throughout the month of April in Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an event that raises public awareness of sexual violence and educates communities on its prevention.

On Monday, April 1, the college participated in a National Day of Outreach, in which Luther joined other campuses and organizations across the nation to distribute educational materials on staying safe, as well as tools to help stop sexual assault.

Students were encouraged to complete Haven, an online learning platform addressing the critical issues of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.  Haven is an interactive module designed to engage and empower students to create safe, healthy campus environments. For more information on Haven, go to:http://thecampussaveact.com/education/.

Luther will host Denim Day Wednesday, April 23. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to donate money and wear denim to raise awareness of sexual assault. All money raised will be used to raise awareness about the effects of sexual assault and help end sexual abuse.

Denim Day found its origins in Italy in the 1990's when an 18 year-old girl was picked up by her 45 year-old driving instructor for her first driving lesson. Her instructor drove them to an isolated road, wrestled her out of her jeans, and raped her. Despite death threats made against her by her instructor, the girl still told her parents about the assault and pressed charges against him.

Although the perpetrator was convicted of rape, he appealed his sentence and was later released with the charges made against him dismissed. The judge stated that this was due to the fact that the victim's jeans were so tight, she had to help her assailant remove them. Upon hearing this detail, the court no longer considered the act rape, but consensual sex.

This verdict sparked an outrage and within hours, the women of the Italian Parliament had launched into protest by wearing jeans to work. The California Senate and Assembly was moved to do the same. When this practice reached Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, Denim Day was born. The first Denim Day was in April 1999 and has continued every year since.

For more information on Denim Day, visit http://denimdayusa.org/.

Contact Sarah Stadie, Luther SAAM representative, stadsa03@luther.edu, with questions or to get involved.