LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Events will be held across the Southland today recognizing the 19th annual Denim Day campaign to combat sexual violence and supporting its victims.
Denim Day founder Patti Giggans, executive director of the group Peace Over Violence, will join city and community leaders at Los Angeles City Hall to discuss the campaign and -- in conjunction with the #MeToo and Times Up movements -- announce a ``Sexual harassment: Not on my watch'' initiative.
``Sexual harassment is a testing ground for sexual violence, and it is ingrained in our society where rape culture is rampant,'' Giggans said. ``Inspired by the times that we are in, we've expanded our tagline, `There is no excuse and never an invitation to rape,' to include, `There is no excuse and never an invitation to harass, abuse, assault, rape.'
``The climate of taking action and speaking out against these issues has been a crucial part of the Denim Day campaign since it began 19 years ago,'' she said.
Peace Over 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.
Denim Day encourages people to wear jeans as a symbol of protest against sexual assault and raise awareness of misconceptions that surround it.
In addition to a news conference and Los Angeles City Council presentation, Denim Day events are also planned in Irwindale, where police and city employees will take part in a 4 p.m. walk at Irwindale City Hall, 5050 N. Irwindale Ave. At 6 p.m. in Santa Monica, city and state officials will gather to proclaim Denim Day during a community event sponsored by the Commission on the Status of Women.
Nearly 12 million people registered at the www.denimdayinfo.org website to participate in the event by wearing jeans on Wednesday.