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Denim Day founder joins LA rally to celebrate 25 years of victim empowerment

Los Angeles Denim Day rally promotes sexual violence prevention
Los Angeles Denim Day rally promotes sexual violence prevention 00:52

On the 25th anniversary of Denim Day, elected officials, survivors of sexual violence and community leaders gathered outside of Los Angeles City Hall, wearing jeans for a purpose.

Denim Day is a worldwide movement to end sexual violence, spearheaded by Peace Over Violence, and its founder was at Wednesday's event to promote its cause and advocate for victim empowerment.

In 1999, Patti Giggans held a small rally downtown Los Angeles to protest the myths that clothing type can invite rape and sexual assault.  She said she was compelled to hold the rally after an Italian court overturned a rapist's conviction, saying that the victim's tight jeans contributed to her consent to sex.

The campaign's message remains the same 25 years later,  "There is No Excuse And Never An Invitation to Rape"

 "This campaign along with other movement organizing, has empowered victim survivors, created allies, influenced legislation and gave voice to those who had been silenced," Giggans said at Wednesday's rally.

Over half of all women and almost one in three men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes.

While awareness has increased in the last 25 years, Denim Day 2024 comes at a crucial time as Congress has threatened to cut funding from the Victims of Crimes Act that supports survivors of sexual violence crimes with much needed services, according to Peace Over Violence.

These federal funding cuts are expected to top nearly $700 million, impacting survivors and organizations nationwide. 

Giggans called on everybody to make themselves heard and demand VOCA funding remained protected. She noted that it took five decades to get where we are today, and if the funding gets cut, that progress would be decimated.

Supervisor Hilda Solis presented Peace Over Violence with a $50,000 check to support their Youth Over Violence Program, which is intended to provide services to young people, in particular, immigrant youth.

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