JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - It's Sexual Assault Awareness Month and North Alabama Crisis Services is making sure everyone is aware with an eye-catching display.
You can't help but notice the dim of the denim as you are passing by the Jackson County Courthouse. Blue jeans, for a cause. "It's more prevalent than you think and a lot of victims don't come forward," said Teresia Smith of the Jackson County office.
Crisis Services of North Alabama wanted to make a display that would stop people in their tracks and take a second look. "Unfortunately, in our society, there's a lot of victim shaming and we want to change that," said Smith.
If you take a close look at every single pair of jeans around the gazebos, you'll see different words of affirmation written on them. The display is designed to encourage passerby's that may connect with the message or bring awareness to what some may say is a taboo topic. "This display has been a wonderful outreach."
The movement dates back to the late 90s, with a court case that struck the nation in a major way. "A judge in Italy overturned a rape conviction," said Smith. He overturned it because the victim was wearing a pair of jeans. "In his opinion, if someone was wearing jeans they couldn't be raped because you had to assist in taking your jeans off."
Since then Denim Day, also known as Jeans for Justice, was born. "Legislators were appalled at that and so they gave up their skirts and started wearing their jeans in protest," said Smith.
Now, they're bringing the movement to Jackson County throughout the month of April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. "If your organization would like to donate a dollar per person and wear their jeans to work on a day, and then contact us and we'd be glad to pick up the donations or mail it in."
The money will be used to service sexual assault victims right here in Jackson County. "People that are sexually assaulted need someone to go alongside them as they go through the process of healing from that," said Smith.
They're letting victims know they have the support of their community and that they are not alone.