HASTINGS, Neb. – April is National Sexual Assault Awareness month, and advocacy groups are asking people to wear denim to show support of sexual violence victims.

'Denim Day' stems back from an Italian court case in 1992, where a man accused of raping a teenage girl was found not guilty because the girl was wearing tight jeans.

Judges ruled that because the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her attacker remove them, implying consent.

Since 1999, advocate groups across the country use the last Wednesday in April to raise awareness for sexual assault victims who are struggling after their experiences.

'There is no excuse, and never an invitation to rape' is the theme for this year's Denim Day. 

EnCourage Advocacy Center in Hastings says they serve and assist 40-60 survivors of sexual violence per year, but that number is far less than the actual cases that occur.

"Those are just the people that have reached out to us, we know that there are many individuals who experience sexual violence that don't report to anyone, and don't reach out to help," said Executive Director Jo Bair. "We know that's just a fraction of what occurs in our community."

On Monday, Mayor Corey Stutte signed a proclamation declaring April Sexual Assault Awareness month in Hastings, which Bair and the staff at EnCourage say they are appreciative of the recognition.

"I want those survivors who are afraid to reach out, to know there's a whole team of people here who are going to listen, who are going to believe you, who are going to help you connect with any resources that you need," said Bair.

"We never say this is what you need to do, you don't have to make a report to law enforcement, or to complete an examination. We're going to talk to you about all of your options and support you no matter what you choose to do."