How to fight back against sexual assault

Published 4:13 pm Thursday, April 14, 2016

This week I will explain, per the domestic and sexual abuse services newsletter, some of the events planned.

April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month: Volunteers are one of our most valuable assets. We want them to know the work they do each day on behalf of DASAS and survivors does not go unnoticed. The compassion they show the individuals we serve is an inspiration to us all.

We notice the way in which they treat each and every survivor — with respect and kindness, no matter the situation.

We understand how stressful it is for survivors to find themselves in need of services and the words and actions of our volunteers go a long way toward helping them retain their dignity and move forward in a life free from abuse. The difference volunteers make cannot easily be put into words and we thank them for all that they do.

Denim Day 2016: Domestic And Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS) invites you to wear jeans with a purpose — supporting survivors and educating others about sexual assault as we recognize Denim Day

What is Denim Day? Internationally celebrated since 1999, Denim Day started as a protest of an Italian Supreme Court decision to overturn a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans. The Italian Supreme Court dismissed charges against a 45-year-old rape suspect because the 18-year-old victim was wearing jeans at the time of the assault.

The court stated in its decision that, “it is common knowledge… that jeans cannot even be partly removed without the effective help of the person wearing them… and it is impossible if the victim is struggling with all her might.”

The judgment sparked an international protest from those who understand the dynamics of sexual violence; that it is about domination, humiliation, power, control, and violence. This verdict became an international symbol of myth-based injustice for victims of sexual violence.

What I can do: Please join us April 27 or on a day of your choosing during the week, by wearing jeans or denim in protest of this decision. If people question your attire, it is the prime opportunity to share this case with them and open their eyes to the injustice that often arises with sexual assault victimization.

How I can participate: Purchase your Denim Day button for just $2.50. Checks may be made payable to Domestic And Sexual Abuse Services and mailed to P.O. Box 402, Three Rivers, MI 49093. If you would like to purchase buttons or have any questions, contact Kim or Rose at (269) 273-6154. We are more than happy to deliver. All proceeds will benefit the work of DASAS to further educate our communities about the dynamics of sexual violence and to assist survivors and their children with the healing process.

Survivor stomp: In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, DASAS will host a Survivor Stomp 5k run and 1.4 mile walk event on April 30.

Event participants will run and walk in support of survivors and in memory of those who have lost their lives to domestic and sexual abuse in our communities. This is a chance for families, businesses, social clubs and the community as a whole to support programs that provide life-changing opportunities and help break the cycle of violence in our schools, neighborhoods, and homes.

Join us for this unique trail run/walk as we raise funds to support the work of DASAS.

Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services will lead efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault in southwest Michigan.

DASAS will assist domestic violence and sexual assault survivors in clarifying their options, accessing community services that support personal choice, and will provide a safe place for survivors and their children. Stay connected.


Rob Herbstreith is a community service trooper with the Michigan State Police. Contact him by email at at or by phone at (269) 683-4411.