Denim Day recognizes a 1998 Italian Supreme Court case where an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor. When the chief judge overturned the case during appeals, his argument was, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing jeans it was no longer rape, but casual sex.”
Adams said while the number of assaults have decreased in the city over the last several years, it does not change the fact that it is one of the most underreported crimes that takes place in the city.
“While there has been a decrease in sexual assault, we also know that much of that decrease could be attributed to the failure or the fear and intimidation of people coming forward,” Adams explained.
He and Reyna both joined staffers and local women’s groups to let the borough know that organizations like Safe Horizon are available to assist in a time of need.
“We want to encourage people to come forward, we want to encourage people to know that they have the right to say no, and we want to encourage people to understand that what you wear and who you are does not give another person the right to abuse you sexually or in any other way,” Adams said.
Reyna, formerly a North Brooklyn councilwoman, has long made this a top issue on her agenda, and stressed the importance of continuing this focus in Borough Hall.
“When we’re talking about sexual harassment and sexual assault, we want to make sure we are pushing for a zero number,” Reyna said. “This is important to us because all too often, there is a judgment placed, that it is taboo to speak about sexual harassment and sexual assault.”