April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and to raise awareness, Butte College's Safe Place is holding a series of activities from April 16-27 featuring a booth with educational materials and resources from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day in the student's lounge, first floor of the Campus Center.
On Wednesday, April 25, the Safe Place will hold "Denim Day" and offer a group photo at noon in front of the Campus Center stairwell with those wearing jeans.
"The theme this year is 'It's Time To Talk About It,'" said Stephanie Jimenez, Butte College Safe Place coordinator. "Denim Day is an awareness event held in various cities and on various campuses throughout the US and Europe—and encourages all women on campus to wear jeans to raise awareness of sex crimes."
The event is the result of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision in which a man's rape conviction was overturned "because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them...and by removing the jeans...it was no longer rape but consensual sex."
"There is still a lot of education that needs to be done about sexual assault. It's important to bust up the misconceptions and myths. For example, it's a huge myth that most sexual assaults are committed by a stranger. In fact, only 5-percent of sexual crimes are committed by strangers. The other 95-percent are perpetrated by someone the victim knows and often knows well like a partner, boyfriend or husband," said Jimenez.
Since 2008 the Safe Place has been providing crisis intervention, education and resources for victims of sexual assault, stalking and partner violence.
The Safe Place is open year round and serves victims with a safe place to study as well as a place to connect with resources, including law enforcement, Catalyst Domestic Violence Services, and Rape Crisis Intervention. The Safe Place helps victims with the assistance they need following an assault.
The Safe Place has provided 260 students, 10 of them male, with everything from a safe place to study and lockers to keep their personal possessions to obtaining restraining orders. By working closely with instructors, administration, and staff the Safe Place has been able to keep more than half the students it serves in school.
"The majority of the assaults do not take place on campus but staying in school can be very hard for the victims as they recover from the assault and handle legal matters," said Jimenez. "One of the first things I tell them is no one can take away their college education and then we do everything we can to make sure that they can stay in school or come back."
For more information call 879-6185, visit www.butte.edu/safeplace or email firstname.lastname@example.org.