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Denim Day is Wednesday

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-24 20:26:08-04

It's estimated that a sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States.

The statistic is being highlighted during the month of April, which is sexual assault awareness month.

Wednesday, April 27 is a chance to stand in solidarity. If your work place will allow it, you're asked to wear jeans on that day.

Denim Day is now recognized across the globe. It's a chance to help raise awareness and work toward ending victim blaming

In the 1990's, an 18-year-old Italian woman was picked up by her male driving instructor for her first lesson, was taken to an isolated area and raped.

The man was arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail. He filed an appeal and was released six years later.

His conviction was overturned because justices concluded the woman, who was wearing tight jeans the night of the incident, must have helped remove them.

Women in the Italian Parliament were enraged and wore jeans to work the next day to stand in solidarity with the victim.

Counselors at the Women's and Children's Alliance say victim blaming is still something that goes on today, which hampers women from coming forward in the first place.

"They're afraid to be accused of wearing the wrong thing, being in the wrong place," explained Patti Chromey, a licensed clinical professional counselor at the WCA.

So, what should you do?

"If someone comes to you, male or female, and says this happened and I don't what it might be... I'm kind of feeling weird about, it's okay to say I'll just listen." Chromey said. "It's okay to say maybe we should get some help."

While filing a police report is certainly up to the individual, this is something to keep in mind.

"There is that pattern if people don't come forward, the person then who perpetrated that act figures I got away with it once... I can probably get away with it again," said WCA Executive Director Beatrice Black.

Free counseling is offered at the WCA, and a victim support group meets there each Tuesday. They also have a 24-hour hotline: 345-7273.

"Don't hesitate to seek help for that because for many that is the only way they're going to be able to move forward," Black said.

If you can't where denim on Wednesday, just stop by the WCA's office in downtown Boise where they have ribbons and stickers.