Target: McKenna Nerone, senior at Wauwatosa East High School
Goal: Thank high school senior for collecting jeans to raise awareness about rape statistics in the United States
McKenna Nerone, a high school senior at Wauwatosa East High School in Wisconsin is using denim to increase awareness regarding rape statistics in the United States. She hopes to have 1,050 pairs of jeans by April 24th, Denim Day, a number that reflects the statistic that someone is raped every two minutes, or 1,050 times in one school week. The jeans themselves symbolize the infamous 1999 case of a young Italian girl whose assault was not ruled as rape because the teenager had been wearing tight jeans, and this was considered consent. The verdict led to public outcry and the creation of Denim Day by the Peace Over Violence group. Denim Day involves a show of solidarity by wearing jeans every April 24th in protest of placing blame on victims rather than their assailants, as well as in an effort to increase awareness.
The statistics surrounding the prevalence of rape were both surprising and alarming to Nerone, who stated that “no one ever taught [her] that, as a teenager, [she has] a 1 in 5 chance of being raped, and chances are [she] will know [her] assailant.” She has begun to curate hundreds of pairs of jeans, one pair in honor of each victim that will be faced with rape while she is “safe in school each week.” The 1,050 pairs of jeans will be put on display at her high school where Nerone hopes the sheer number of jeans will help drive home the alarmingly high statistic. As Nerone has said, “it is one thing to tell people 1,050 woman are raped, but… it will be a powerful message for people to see 1,050 pair of jeans… and realize each pair represents a woman who will be sexually assaulted during that week, just during school hours.”
Nerone’s undertaking has prompted recognition in her community. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has congratulated her on her attempt to increase awareness regarding rape amongst teens, even going so far as to name her a “community leader.” Furthermore, her cause has garnered support across the nation, with donations even coming in from out of state. After displaying the jeans, Nerone plans on donating them to a local organization called Pathfinders, which helps at-risk youth.
Applaud Nerone’s efforts to increase awareness amongst teens regarding the real statistics surrounding rape.
Dear McKenna Nerone,
Your efforts to increase awareness about the prevalence of rape are commendable and inspiring. Rape is unfortunately all too common, especially amongst teens and young adults. Sadly, the victim is often the one to receive blame, either by his or her peers or even a court of law. By using Denim Day as a means to protest rape, you have helped to encourage a shift in the way people think about rape in our culture.
Thank you for your inspiring project of gathering and displaying 1,050 pairs of jeans in order to really reveal the prevalence of rape and take a stand against how some view rape in this country, and please continue to help increase awareness about these alarming statistics.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay