In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it. Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights and social justice issue. We need everyone’s help to end it. The theme for the 2019 Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign is "I Ask"! Building on the success of last year’s campaign that centered around engaging new voices, this theme was a natural next step. Our words shape the world around us. How we talk about sexual violence matters. Once engaged, how can individuals and communities use their voice to make a true impact and become an agent for change? There are many ways to embrace one’s voice, from practicing or providing consent to speaking out against stereotypes or gender biases. It starts with recognizing the power of one’s voice. We all have a unique role to play in prevention and changing the culture. When we reflect on and change how we think and talk about the issue of sexual violence and consent, we can create a culture of respect, equality, and safety. All of our voices have power. It’s time for everyone to find that voice and embrace it.
The Violence Intervention Project does several things throughout the community each year to shed light on the issue of sexual violence and bring awareness to the community. Throughout the month of April, area businesses will display denim jeans that are painted and decorated by survivors, supporters, students, and other community members with quotes and statements about ending sexual violence. If you would like to be involved in decorating jeans, or displaying jeans at your organization, please contact 920-487-2111.
For the past 20 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. In this rape prevention education campaign we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. This year’s Denim Day is April 24, 2019. To find out how your business or organization can be involved and support VIP, please call 920-487-2111.