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‘Many people struggle but never open up about it’: Local high school students raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 3:36 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Pike County Central High School’s student council has decided to make a fashion statement this April.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and people across the globe are doing their part to speak about the topic. Denim Day originated in Italy in 1999 after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction since the victim was wearing tight jeans and assumed the victim must have helped the attacker remove them.

The next day, women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans in solidarity with the victim. Nowadays, people around the world, including some students in our area, have joined in and are standing up to raise awareness on sexual assault.

“There’s a lot of sexual assault and people are afraid to talk about it,” said student council member Scarlett Anderson. “Whenever you put things together for people to educate themselves and become aware it helps, not only to prevent it from happening but for people to come forward for help.”

Students at Pike Central have helped educate their fellow students, faculty, and community by not only wearing denim, but they have also put up posters, created a slideshow, as well as filmed a public service announcement.

“This is a tough, taboo topic,” said English teacher Angela Lockhart. “For these students to step forward and raise awareness on topics that are largely swept under the rug by most teenagers, I believe it really shows their passions for these tough topics and helping people and groups that are being targeted.”

The student council also sought to tackle some of the misconceptions about sexual assault.

“There’s this big misconception that only women can be sexually assaulted,” said Anderson. “Men struggle with the same things and it’s just as hard for them to talk about it as it is for women, so we should all be outraged and want to raise awareness about this topic together.”

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