“Denim Day” Participants Stand in Solidarity with Victims of Sexual Assault
April 24, 2019
“The simple act of wearing jeans sends a powerful message across Alaska and the world that sexual abuse will not be tolerated,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Here in Alaska, there is a significant amount of work that remains when it comes to our rates of sexual assault and domestic violence. My administration is committed to this cause not just today, but each and every day of the year in order to protect Alaska’s most vulnerable and hold perpetrators accountable.”
Alaska continues to have the highest rates of sexual assault and domestic violence in the nation. The Dunleavy administration believes we must strengthen our laws to hold sexual predators accountable for their actions. Earlier this year, Governor Dunleavy introduced a package of crime-fighting legislation, including SB 35 and HB 52 which targets sexual predators and holds them accountable for their crimes. SB 35 has received significant action in the Senate, however HB 52 has not moved from its first committee of referral, the House Judiciary Committee.
“The number one priority of my administration is public safety and implementing a comprehensive plan to keep Alaskans safe,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Passing these crime-related bills this session is absolutely critical to giving law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to apprehend and convict offenders. I call on the Legislature to move our package of crime bills to restore a sense of safety in Alaskan communities and neighborhoods as soon as possible.”
Wear Denim Day is held each year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April; this year it is on Wednesday, April 24. Wear Denim Day encourages everyone to wear jeans/denim to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault.
Troopers were also encouraged to switch out their blue uniform pants with a pair of blue jeans to help raise awareness of sexual assaults and to support survivors of sexual violence. Civilian staff will also participate, though their wardrobe change won’t be as stark.
Wear Denim Day came about as protest to a landmark court decision in Italy. An Italian court overturned a sexual assault conviction of a 45 year old driving instructor for raping an 18 year old student in the 1990s. The court reasoned that the victim wore very, very tight jeans and must have somehow participated in the removal of the jeans, therefore granting consent.
“Alaska’s rates of sexual assault are unacceptable. Anything we can do to put a stop to this violence, we are committed to doing - everything from providing specialized training, hiring sexual assault specific investigators in Western Alaska, to something as unconventional as wearing jeans,” said Commissioner Amanda Price. “Troopers are eager to participate because we knew that Troopers on duty wearing jeans, for the first time ever, would be an instant conversation starter. People will want to know why a Trooper is wearing blue jeans instead of their iconic uniform pants, and our message is simple and strong: Support Survivors.”
The Alaska Department of Public Safety is also used this as an opportunity to raise funds for Standing Together Against Rape, an advocacy group that provides resources to sexual abuse/sexual assault survivors, or another appropriate advocacy organization. DPS Employees participating in the campaign are encouraged to donate at least $5 in exchange for wearing denim to work. All donations are voluntary.
Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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