Wisconsin teen to display denim jeans to illustrate rape statistics

Published On: Apr 05 2013 07:35:30 AM HST

A senior at Wauwatosa East High School is performing a service project with denim that is gaining national attention.

McKenna Nerone is folding jeans -- 1,050 pairs to be exact,  in an effort to raise awareness for rape victims.

When Nerone was assigned to perform a service project, she decided to use April 24, Denim Day USA, as a vehicle to teach fellow students about the prevalence of rape.

"Every two minutes in America, someone is raped," she said, noting that the statistic adds up to 1,050 rapes within a school week.

Denim Day USA is a movement that began in 1999 by the Peace Over Violence group. A court in Italy once ruled that a teen's sexual assault was not rape because the victim had consented by wearing tight jeans.

Later this month, Nerone will use denim to physically demonstrate how large of a number the statistic is.

"It's one thing to say 1,050 people are victims. I think it says something different to actually see what that means in a different form."

The project has attracted attention outside of Wauwatosa thanks to Facebook. A Denim Day Milwaukee page has gathered donations from as far away as New York.

While McKenna folds jeans in the U-Turn Consignment Boutique, store owner Jessican Brittingham has nothing but praise for the project.

"I have young children," she said. "I want to teach them what's right and wrong, how to be respectful of women with my son."

Brittingham agreed to have her store serve as a collection site for the project. Other donation sites are listed at the bottom of this article.

Nerone hopes everyone will learn the lesson when the jeans are displayed at a surprise location on April 24. Following the display, the jeans will be donated to Pathfinders, a shelter for runaway and at-risk teens.

For more information on the project, visit the Denim Day Milwaukee Facebook page.


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