Marsha Chartrand

Denim Day is Wednesday, April 26

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The decorated jeans in the window of the Manchester Township Office have drawn a great deal of attention over the past few weeks. They are there to promote awareness of Denim Day, April 26.

For the past 18 years, the Denim Day campaign has been promoted each April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

The campaign was originally triggered by an Italian Supreme Court ruling in 1998. A rape conviction was overturned because justices believed since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, thus implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Peace Over Violence, a Los Angeles-based social service agency dedicated to the elimination of sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence, developed the Denim Day campaign in 1999, in response to the activism surrounding this case. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against all destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

As part of its rape prevention education campaign, Peace Over Violence asks community members, elected officials, businesses, and students to make a social statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.

Locally, the Manchester Township Office has information about Denim Day to promote awareness of sexual and domestic assault. If you are in need of immediate assistance, you may contact the SAFE House crisis line in Ann Arbor at (734) 995-5444. To learn more about SAFE House and its programs, call the business line at (734) 973-0242.

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