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Denim ribbons carry meaningful message

A patch of blue awareness
By: ~ Staff report
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From left, Lisa Mondiel, Louise Czopek and Jennifer Racine, members of PEACE for Families, a non-profit organization serving Placer County victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, display denim ribbons in recognition of Victim Rights Week. “Denim Day is in response to a 1999 court decision to overturn a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans,” Mondiel said. Victim Rights Week is April 22-28 and April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. The Denim Day California campaign began as part of an international protest of an Italian High Court decision to overturn a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans. The Italian Supreme Court dismissed charges against a 45-year-old rape suspect because his 18-year-old victim was wearing jeans at the time of the attack. The Court stated in its decision that “It is common knowledge ... that jeans cannot even be partly removed without the effective help of the person wearing them ... and it is impossible if the victim is struggling with all her might.” The judgment sparked a worldwide outcry from those who understand coercion, threats and violence go along with the act of rape. The unpopular verdict became an international symbol of myth-based injustice for sexual assault victims.