The City Council declared Wednesday Denim Day in Los Angeles, to recognize the 21st annual campaign to combat sexual violence and support its victims.
Solidarity is the theme of this year’s Denim Day, highlighting the ongoing and changing needs of those experiencing domestic, sexual and interpersonal violence during stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, we wear denim in support of the movement launched by Peace Over Violence in response to an unjust court ruling in 1998,” Council President Nury Martinez said prior to Wednesday’s regular meeting.
Peace Over Violence, a Los Angeles-based social service agency dedicated to the elimination of sexual and domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal violence, championed Denim Day in Los Angeles in 1999 as part of an international protest following the Italian Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a rape conviction.
The victim wore tight jeans, which the justices reasoned the suspect couldn’t have removed without her help.
Women in the Italian Parliament began to wear jeans to work in protest of the ruling, and the movement has spread around the world since then.
Martinez said she filed a motion last week to have an analysis conducted on recent domestic violence calls and other abuse calls against women and children in Los Angeles during the pandemic. The motion also calls for a report on what the city is doing to help victims of assault.
“We must be able to tell everyone across our city, women and men who abuse in our city will not be tolerated, that even during these uncertain times the most vulnerable must be protected and must be heard,” Martinez said.
She said the number of people who are abused may not be accurately reported, as some people “fear their own government” and may not report their abuse.
“When I talk about where we need to go to remedy our society to disrupt rape culture … everyone is included,” Peace Over Violence CEO and founder of Denim Day Patti Giggans said. “There’s no such thing as `marginalized’ anymore. That’s where we have to go.”
The Demin Day Campaign is the nation’s longest-running sexual violence prevention and education campaign, organizers said. It seeks to inspire and mobilizes individuals, communities and institutions by providing tools, messaging and a call to action.
Denim Day encourages people to wear jeans as a symbol of protest against sexual assault and raise awareness of misconceptions that surround it.
Peace Over Violence will host a virtual Denim Day Survivor Rally in conjunction with Denim Day New York City. The live event will be hosted on the Peace Over Violence YouTube channel Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Online supporters can share their photos and support using #DenimDay and on social media, according to Martinez.
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