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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Denim Day Calls Attention to Sexual Assault

Angelenos dressed down to raise awareness about rape, sexual assault and violence against women.

From Mayor Villaraigosa to students at Fremont High School, Angelenos are wearing jeans in Wednesday's Denim Day in order to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence against women.

The annual dress-down day, which was first held in Los Angeles by Peace Over Violence in 1999, included special events at Fremont, San Gabriel and Franklin high schools.

Students planned events with a blend of art and musical performances, public speakers and the distribution of educational materials regarding sexual violence, rape and community resources.

The annual Denim Day was first held in L.A. in 1999. (Sunshinecity/Flickr)
The annual Denim Day was first held in L.A. in 1999. (Sunshinecity/Flickr)

The City of West Hollywood's Public Safety Division planned on hosting a special event to focus on social media's role in gender and violence.

Denim Day traces its roots to Italy, where a judge overturned a rape conviction, arguing, “...because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex."

The judge's ruling generated outrage among the women in Italy's parliament, who began wearing jeans to work.

Members of California's Senate and Assembly followed suit, which inspired Patricia Giggans, the Execuive Director of Peace Over Violence, to start Denim Day.

The need for Denim Day is especially pressing, according to Peace Over Violence, because in the U.S., every two and a half minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, also according to Peace Over Violence.

The non-profit organization offers a number of resources to victims and potential victims of sexual violence, including three 24-hour rape and battering hotlines, reachable at: 626-793-3385, 310-392-8381, and 213-626-3393.

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