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There Is No Excuse On Denim Day or Any Day
As you know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And this year, Joyful Heart partnered with dozens of organizations, community-based programs and government officials to turn towards the issue of sexual assault in New York City with Denim Day.
Denim Day is an award-winning annual sexual violence prevention and education campaign started by our Los Angeles-based partner, Peace Over Violence. It grew out of a 1990s Italian Supreme Court case in which the Court's decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The judges reasoned the victim’s tight jeans meant that she had to have helped her assailant remove them, implying consent. People all over the world were outraged, and wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault.
Last year, more than 2.6 million people participated in Denim Day throughout the U.S. This year is New York's third year participating in Denim Day campaign and Joyful Heart is so proud to have joined the coalition. In addition to activities, workshops and programs happening throughout all five boroughs for youth and adults on Denim Day, we held a press conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday to kick off our coalition's Denim Day events.
In addition to our Denim Day organizers the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, the St. Luke's Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center and Start Strong Bronx, we were joined by advocates, youth government officials and individuals who filled the steps of City Hall to bring the message to New york that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape.
We're sharing that message nationally too. Yesterday, Mariska penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post with Denim Day founder Patti Giggans. From their article:
The way our society thinks about rape and receives survivors is not only tragic, it's dangerous. Fearing that they won't be believed, survivors are less likely to report their rapes, which means rapists stay out of jail, which means they are free to rape again. Denim Day is about coming together as a community that has no tolerance for sexual violence, a community that commits its resources—intellectual, financial, emotional—to responding differently to survivors and making their healing a priority.
To read the entire article, click here.
We and our partners are also sharing this message in social media (#denimday, if you're on Twitter) in hospitals and rape crisis programs, offices, schools and colleges throughout the country. Together, we can change these harmful victim-blaming attitudes about sexual violence. We can change the way we think about, respond to and support survivors of sexual assault.
If you are wearing denim today, please be sure you have registered your support on www.denimdayusa.org. We invite you to submit photos of yourself in your denim to firstname.lastname@example.org and share what you're doing for Denim Day.