Denim Day

Denim day

I feel compelled to take a moment out of my time spent at Camp (NaNoWriMo) to give a shout out about something that’s near and dear to my heart.

The fourth Wednesday of April marks Denim Day. What is Denim Day you ask? It’s a day people across the nation are encouraged to wear jeans to bring awareness to rape and sexual assault.

The history of Denim Day began in Rome when in 1992 a 45-year-old driving instructor raped an 18-year-old girl after he picked her up for her first driving lesson. He told her that if she told anyone he would kill her. Thankfully, she told her parents which resulted in charges being pressed against the man.

He was convicted and sentenced, but when he appealed to the Italian Supreme Court, the conviction was overturned in 1998. Are you ready to hear why?

Because she wore tight jeans.

The Supreme Court ruled that, “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.”  The Supreme Court stated in its decision, “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.” The Italian Supreme Court has since overturned their findings and the denim defense to rape is no longer used.

In the last several years, Denim Day has been organized as an international symbol of protest against misguided attitudes about rape and sexual assault. As of this writing, there are 5,027,843 registered participants according to the Denim Day website. Maybe you want to make it 5,027,844?

Consider wearing jeans with me on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015, to raise awareness and educate others on rape and sexual assault.

I know I, for one, will be proudly sporting jeans on Wednesday. Join me?

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The Rainbow After the Rain

This morning as I was doing my “prayer and meditation time,” finally feeling better after having a flu bug that knocked me down harder than I can ever remember, I thought about something my sweet grandma said I told her numerous times years ago.

“Grandma, I like getting tummy aches ’cause it feels so good when they go away.”

She said she thought it was so funny when I said that.

However, maybe I was on to something at that young age, with that sentiment that was difficult for grandma to understand.

It’s not by avoiding the difficulties that we get to see the joy, but by going through them. By embracing them even.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (James 1:2)

Going through the pain of losing loved ones has led me to a greater appreciation for the people who are still in my life.

Going through the devastation of suicide with a boyfriend years ago and with my stepdaughter later has led me to an empathy for others experiencing that devastation, enabling me to shine a light so they, too, can get through that very black space of so many questions and so much guilt.

Going through the process of healing after being sexually assaulted by a stranger at the young age of 18, working my way through the fear and turmoil that followed me for years, the PTSD, has given me the aptitude to help other victims of crime along that dark, lonely path. The path that only a survivor can possibly understand and give hope to the still suffering that there is light at the end of that tunnel.

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At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s not until after the rain and the cracks of thunder, frightening bolts of lightning, that we can see the incredible rainbow that brings peace and awe.

While I wouldn’t count it joy while in the midst of those dark times, the fact that there was joy in my life afterward is nothing short of miraculous. Those trials have led me to a closer relationship with my God. My Savior–literally. Left to my own, I would not have survived, but He carried me through those troubling times. Like the footprints in the sand poem.

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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

And today? I’m so thankful I’m feeling better and embrace this day with renewed energy and passion for health.

Peace, my friends. Have a beautiful day.