SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS  MONTH, DENIM DAY, APRIL 19-25, 2020 AS VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK AND THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE VICTIMS RIGHTS ACT

April 14, 2020

MEDIA RELEASE

For Further Information Contact:     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackie Dean, Director,                      April 14, 2020
Victim Witness Program
PH: (804) 541-2352

Release Number: DIPA: 04/14/20-02

SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS  MONTH, DENIM DAY, APRIL 19-25, 2020 AS VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK AND THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE VICTIMS RIGHTS ACT

Hopewell, VA. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This is the month wherein citizens wear teal in support of sexual assault survivors. April 29, 2020 is designated as Denim Day. The Denim Day story began in Italy in 1992, when an 18-year old girl was raped by the 45-year old driving instructor who was taking her to her very first driving lesson.

He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans and forcefully raped her. She reported the rape and the perpetrator was arrested and prosecuted. He was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. Years later, he appealed the conviction claiming that they had consensual sex. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and the perpetrator was released.

A statement from the Court argued that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was not rape but consensual sex. This became known throughout Italy as the “jeans alibi.”

Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament launched a protest wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. This protest was picked up by international media which inspired the California Senate and Assembly to do the same on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.

Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, saw this in the media and thought everyone should be wearing jeans to protest all of the myths about why women and girls are raped. Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA event was held in April of 1999, and has continued annually since.

2020 is also a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the signing of the Victims’ Rights Act, which gives victims of crime rights as victims. The Crime Victims’ Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3771, is part of the United States Justice for All Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-405, 118 Stat. 2260. The CVRA enumerates the rights afforded to victims in federal criminal cases. The Crime Victims’ Rights Act grants victims the following eight rights:

  1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
  2. The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
  3. The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
  4. The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
  5. The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
  6. The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
  7. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
  8. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy.

The Hopewell Victim Witness Program assists victims of crime in the City of Hopewell. For assistance, our office phone number is 804-541-2352. Even during this COVID-19 pandemic, we are available to help.

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Last modified: April 14, 2020

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