Contact: Shaina Brown
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LEGISLATORS TO OBSERVE DENIM DAY AT STATE CAPITOL APRIL 23rd
CALCASA and state legislators pledge to end sexual violence
Sacramento, Calif. – April 23, 2014 – Legislators, public officials, advocates and volunteers will gather on the South Steps of the State Capitol in recognition of Denim Day California.
Denim Day is named for a 1999 Italian Supreme Court case, in which a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that 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.
Denim Day has been recognized in California for the past 15 years. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) has observed Denim Day at the State Capitol since 2001. Wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against the destructive attitudes about sexual assault.
“Today, the California State Legislature is proud to stand with CALCASA to support an end to sexual violence,” said Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino), author of Assembly Concurrent Resolution 129 (ACR 129), which recognizes April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month and designates April 23, 2014 as Denim Day in California. The goal of ACR 129 is to raise awareness about sexual assault and challenge the systematic problems that keep victims silent and insulate perpetrators from prosecution. “Sexual violence is a serious public health problem that affects millions of women, men and children. We wear denim today to stand in solidarity with victims and to acknowledge that we must do more to reduce the prevalence of sexual assault in California and support survivors,” Brown concluded.
There is bi-partisan support for today’s Denim Day event – speakers include Assemblymember Toni Atkins, Senator Kevin de Leon, Chair and Vice Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, and Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian.
This year, CALCASA will present Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O’Malley with the 2014 Visionary Voice Award in partnership with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is a nationally recognized expert on violence against women and sexual assault, more specifically sexual assault against persons with disabilities, interpersonal violence, and human exploitation and trafficking. CALCASA values its partnership with District Attorney Nancy O’Malley in the movement to end sexual violence.
“Denim Day is an opportunity during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to recognize the valuable work that legislators, advocates, and volunteers are doing to support survivors of sexual assault,” said Sandra Henriquez, CALCASA Executive Director. “Together, we can end sexual violence and change our culture that perpetuates negative stereotypes about sexual assault.”
CALCASA is the only statewide organization in California whose sole purpose is to promote public policy, advocacy, training and technical assistance on the issue of sexual assault. CALCASA convenes statewide and national training conferences and its primary membership is composed of the 84 rape crisis centers and rape prevention programs in California. For more information, visit www.calcasa.org.