Wear jeans to take a stand against sexual assaults April 29

Wear jeans to take a stand against sexual assaults April 29

April 20th, 2011 by Katie Ward in Catoosa

From left, Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia volunteer Cheryl Mansfield, program manager Kathie Logan, victim advocate Maria Hernandez and victim advocate Janet Givens are preparing for the Jeans for Justice Campaign April 29, when men and women will wear jeans to protest against sexual assault. Photo by Katie Ward

Throughout Northwest Georgia April 29, men and women will wear blue jeans to take a stand against sexual assault.

The Jeans for Justice campaign is being launched by the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia. A business can offer its employees the chance to wear jeans for the day for $5. Proceeds will go to SAC of NWGA to provide services for victims of sexual assault.

"Sexual assault is rampant," said SAC NWGA program manager Kathie Logan. "We see victims ages 12 and above. Lately, we've seen more 16- and 17-year-olds. The group that is four times more likely to be assaulted than any other is the age group 18 to 34."

Logan said Fort Oglethorpe's SAC deals with an average of four to six cases of sexual assault per month.

The Sexual Assault Center in Fort Oglethorpe provides free services to victims. Logan said the center conducts a forensics exam through a Georgia Bureau of Investigation rape kit to collect DNA evidence.

Logan said if someone is raped, they should not shower or change clothes as it is best to preserve all evidence. The center will hold all forensics evidence for 12 months in case the victim decides to report the crime at a later date.

"Victims can receive our services without reporting to law enforcement. We will help them report if they want to, though," she said.

The center has a therapist specializing in sexual abuse trauma in addition to advocates that help victims.

"Our motto is there's no excuse," said Logan. "A lot of people have shame or guilt because they were drinking or intoxicated. No matter how much you have to drink, you should not get raped. If you get raped, you were a victim. "

She said the alarming statistic is that 73 percent of perpetrators are known to the victim.

• The Jeans for Justice campaign was inspired in 1999 in Italy when a rape conviction was overturned on the basis that the victim was wearing jeans. An 18-year-old woman was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor. The ruling said it was impossible for someone wearing tight jeans to be raped without the help of the person wearing the jeans removing them. So, women in Italy took a stand by wearing jeans as a protest the next day.

• Sexual assault statistics - one in six women and one in 33 men are sexually assaulted. About 70 percent of people raped do not report it. Most men are assaulted in prison.

Statistics provided by the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia.

• The Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia is located next door to Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe at 500A North Thomas St. To learn more, call the center at (706) 861-0929. Contributions can be mailed to the center at P.O. Box 5407, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. 30742.