By Lauren Herber, Co-Editor
Think back to when you were a teenager. Acne, prom, crushes, braces. Remember those days? Imagine that you’re a teenager again. You’re 18, high school sucks, and all you want is to have your driver’s license so you can get some space from your overbearing parents and hang out with your friends. You sign up for driver’s ed and miraculously pass the written test; it’s time for you to get behind the wheel. Your driving instructor—regular guy, 45, married—picks you up for your first lesson. Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing—being on the road for the first time is scary. He leads you away from town to a more isolated road. “Thank god,” you think, happy to practice on a road with fewer cars and distracting obstacles. But all of the sudden the car jerks to a complete stop. Your head swivels to look at the instructor—you’re confused because you didn’t step on the brake. But your instructor is already out of the car, opening the door and yanking you out. You try to fight back, but he’s twice the size of you and his hand is around your throat. You’re crying as he wrestles your jeans off and forcibly rapes you. He tells you that he will kill you if you tell anyone.
But you can’t keep this to yourself. You press charges, and your perpetrator is arrested, convicted of rape, and sentenced to jail. It doesn’t take away the pain, but at least he won’t be able to hurt anyone else. But then he appeals the sentence. His case goes all the way to the Supreme Court, who dismisses the court within days. Your attacker is released. Why? Because your jeans were too tight. So tight that as he was attacking you, choking you, assaulting you, you had to “help” your attacker take your jeans off. And in the twisted minds of the Supreme Court, this denotes consensual sex.
What a nightmare, right? Wrong. That nightmare was reality for an 18-year-old girl in Italy in the 1990s. Now, every April, which is Sexual Violence Awareness Month, we have Denim Day, where we wear jeans to protest sexual violence everywhere. This year’s Denim Day will be held on April 12. We encourage you to wear denim and join us at the Thunderbird pavilion from 12-2 for an ice cream social. Several organizations will be present, including the Glendale Family Advocacy Center, Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, Family Advocacy Center, ASU Counseling Services, and ASU Health Services (West).
I know that this article is intense. I know that it is violent. I know that it is graphic. But that is the reality. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives. We must not become desensitized. We must maintain a sense of urgency. We must stand together to acknowledge, protest, and prevent sexual violence. Show your support at Denim Day.