Community Living NB marks Denim Day to raise awareness of abuse
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 is Denim Day, a day that is important to the New Brunswick Association for Community Living (NBACL). Here’s why.
In the 1990s, an 18 year old Italian girl was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor. Initially, he was charged, convicted and sent to jail; however, the conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court. The justices felt that because the victim’s jeans were so tight, she must have assisted the assailant in the removal of her jeans, therefore implying consent.
The following day, in outrage and protest of the decision, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work. To continue the conversation about the importance of consent and to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault, people around the world recognize Denim Day each year.
On Wednesday, April 25, the staff at NBACL will be wearing jeans in participation of Denim Day 2018, because, according to Statistics Canada (2007):
- Canadian girls and women with a disability are up to 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other girls and women. Canadian boys and men with a disability are between 4 to 10 times more likely.
- During their lifetimes, 83 percent of women and 40 percent of men with an intellectual disability are sexually abused.
- Before they turn 18, 40 to 70 percent of girls with an intellectual disability will be sexually exploited.
- 49 percent of those persons who have been sexually abused will experience it 10 or more times.
- In 97 percent of cases, persons know their abusers: more than 45 percent of the assailants are doctors, teachers, caregivers, and others related to disability supports, and more than 30 percent are parents, family members and friends.
- Fewer than 4 percent of sexual assaults on women and girls with an intellectual disability are reported; even less are charged.
- The Evidence Act allows defense lawyers to challenge a person’s mental capacity to understand what it means to take an oath to tell the truth and promise not to tell a lie. Those with an intellectual disability are the only people, other than children, who can be questioned about their understanding of the duty to tell the truth.
- Many education programs teach persons with an intellectual disability to be compliant, leaving them further vulnerable.
We hope that you will join us for Denim Day 2018! Here are some ways to get involved:
- wear denim and tell people why you are participating
- follow us on Twitter (@CommunityLivingNB) and Facebook (facebook.com/nbacl)
- post photos and share the statistics on social media (don’t forget to use the hashtags #DenimDay #NBACL)
Together, we can raise awareness and make a difference!