School Board Approves ‘Denim Day’ Resolution Supporting Education Activities That Prevent Sexual Assault

LOS ANGELES (April 12, 2016) – The Board of Education today approved a resolution that declares April 27 as “Denim Day,” when students and employees are encouraged to wear the fabric “as a visible sign of protest against sexual assault,” especially violence in teen relationships.

The resolution outlined the history of this protest. In 1992, a teenage girl was raped by her driving instructor, who was apprehended, convicted and sentenced to prison. His conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, which ruled that the sex act was consensual because the girl had been wearing very tight jeans and had followed her attacker’s order to remove them. In an act of protest, women serving in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work – an action that has become an international movement against attitudes that blame the victims of sexual assault.

Board President Steve Zimmer said, “Denim Day is not only an event we support, it must become a transformational mindset for every student, every classroom, every school in every community. Today, L.A. Unified recommits to working with Peace Over Violence to train young women and young men to be leaders in a world without violence.”

“We stand in solidarity with our community,” said School Board Member Mónica García, a sponsor of the resolution, “Sexual violence has no excuse.”

On “Denim Day” and every day, students, teachers and other employees are asked to take a stand – in their jeans – against the silence that covers up any form of physical abuse and to work to prevent the shaming of victims, labeling them as accomplices to the crime against them.

“I stand in solidarity in support of ending sexual violence against women,” said Board Vice President Dr. George McKenna. “Denim Day in L.A. is an outward symbol of our unwillingness to accept a culture that is silent on rape culture.”

“Denim Day is an excellent opportunity for L. A. Unified to reaffirm our commitment not only to fostering safe learning environments that are free from the threat of violence, but also to recognizing our roles as educators in instilling a culture of nonviolence and mutual respect among our youth, in our schools and our communities,” Board Member Mónica Ratliff said. “It is important to remember on this day, and everyday, that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to co-sponsor this resolution raising awareness about sexual violence, and I thank Board Member García for bringing this very important issue forward.”

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 Contact: Shannon Haber (213) 241-6766

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