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Denim Day to raise sexual assault awareness, funds for Planned Parenthood

PLATTSBURGH - Ten years ago, the Italian Supreme Court Justice overturned a rape conviction because the woman was wearing jeans.

"Because the woman was wearing jeans, denim ... she must have helped facilitate in her own rape because jeans are difficult to remove," Lori Campbell-Perry said of the court's explanation for overturning the conviction. Today, people across the country who are looking to support survivors of sexual assault and raise awareness by wearing denim. Northern Adirondack Planned Parenthood celebrates "Denim Day," which has become another way to raise funds to help survivors.

Campbell-Perry, Sexual Assault Services program coordinator for Northern Adirondack Planned Parenthood, said she began making pins for the event last year, which people can receive for a $5 donation. Last year, the pin was in the shape of a pair of jeans; this year, the pin will be the pocket of a pair of jeans.

She said her reason for making the pins was "so that people can ask questions and they can educate other people in the community."

The proceeds go to support the NAPP Sexual Assault Services program, explained Martha Stahl, director of external affairs for the organization, which serves both Clinton and Franklin counties.

Last year, NAPP raised $2,500 and Stahl believes "we'll probably raise more than that this year."

Among the services NAPP provides is legal advocacy for court, a 24-hour hotline and referrals for counseling.

"It can be the date of the crime through 'til the trial and sentencing and all that or it can be someone who is a past victim of the crime that never had counseling or never began the healing process," explained Campbell-Perry. "Their coping mechanisms just aren't working anymore."

"The story of [Denim Day's] origin says a lot about attitudes towards sexual assault," said Stahl. "There's still that prevailing idea that it's somehow the woman's fault, that there's something a woman could have done to prevent it from happening to her."

"But, it's never the fault of the victim," Stahl added.

If interested in receiving a pin for this year's Denim Day, which will be held Wednesday, April 8, stop by NAPP's office at 66 Brinkerhoff St., call NAPP at 561-0605, or call Campbell-Perry at 825-6277, ext. 108.

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