Denim Day offers chance for people to talk openly about sexual assault, awareness
Denim Day in Moffat County will take place Wednesday, April 28
For Craig Press
“Ask me why I wear jeans.”
That’s the message Open Heart Advocates is hoping will start a tough, but important, conversation about sexual assault awareness later this month.
The organization is currently preparing for Denim Day, an event held every April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month) that is a campaign to provide information about sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence.
“People are encouraged to wear jeans and denim to raise awareness around sexual assault that’s happening not only in our community, but worldwide,” Meghane Francone, director of Open Heart Advocates, said. “As with many topics, silence is a killer. Not talking about challenging topics doesn’t make them any less harmful or occur any less.”
This year’s Denim Day will be held April 28, so people in the community (and all over the world) are encouraged to wear jeans or other types of denim in solidarity with sexual assault victims.
All Moffat County workplaces and schools are invited to participate in the campaign. Denim Day stickers are available at Prodigal Son Coffee House for $5.
Denim Day was started after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the justices felt since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent.
The day after the ruling, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Denim Day was first held in the United States in 1999 and has been growing ever since.
OHA advocate Monique Williams said the organization has been getting a lot of support from local businesses in regards to Denim Day.
“We want to start these conversations in Moffat County,” she said. “It’s especially important to have these conversations with our youth, so they can understand if they’re in a crisis, they know where to go to get help.”
OHA provides services for those involved with domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking and more. All of the work they do with clients is confidential.
The organization will also host a table in front of Walmart on April 24 to provide information about Denim Day and sexual assault awareness.
Williams noted that all proceeds raised from Denim Day will stay in the county.
“This is a great event to show support for things the county needs,” she said. “We’ve seen a sharp increase in assaults and domestic violence since the COVID pandemic. We’re trying to get back to normal, but we’re still busy at Open Hearts. I think the issues we’re having in the county could be helped with more open and honest conversation about these topics.”
Francone added that not talking about sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and other “taboo” topics increases a stigma around victims, meaning they might choose to not report when these events occur.
“This impacts so many individuals in our schools, our community, our homes,” she said. “It’s important we show our support for these people.”
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On May 17, Moffat County High School acknowledged some of its best and brightest student-athletes for the Class of 2021 with the Lewis “Dude” Dent Memorial Award ceremony.