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Denim Day held April 25

Each April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is observed throughout the United States to raise awareness of sexual violence. Sexual violence, while prevalent in our so­ciety, is not just a national issue. It unfortu­nately affects many individuals in our local communities as well. In fact, over the past year, Someplace Safe assisted nearly 260 vic­tims of sexual violence and exploitation, as well as the family, friends, and support sys­tems of these individuals.

The theme for the 2018 SAAM campaign is "Embrace Your Voice." This theme centers around the idea that the words used by both ourselves, as well as our peers, can shape the world around us. The way in which our co-workers, families and friends talk about sexual violence matters, and may have a sub­stantial impact on our thoughts, actions and words regarding sexual violence.

Individuals and local communities may use their voices to make an impact and create positive change. From practicing and providing consent, to speaking out against stereotypes and bias, to partici­pating in local awareness events, we all play a unique role in changing culture and preventing sexual violence. Together, our voices have the power to create a movement towards respect, equality, and safety for all.

On Wednesday, April 25, Someplace Safe, along with thousands of individuals and organizations across the country, will observe Denim Day to honor and support victims and survivors of sexual violence.

The campaign was originally triggered af­ter a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court, where a rape conviction was overturned ­due to the justices' belief that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her attacker remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women of the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans, in solidarity with the victim. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol against the misconceptions about sexual violence.

• To participate in Denim Day, simply wear jeans on April 25 to work, school or wherever you go. Wear your favorite denim proudly!

• Help spread the word about Denim Day. Encourage others to wear denim, ask your employer to designate a "jeans day" on April 25 or create awareness for Denim Day on social media. Use the hashtag #denimday and be sure to post your denim day participation photos.

• Request your Denim Day stickers and posters by con­tacting your local Someplace Safe office, or by sending an email to: newsletterwww.someplacesafe.info.

• Support Someplace Safe and local survivors of sexual violence by pledging a few dollars for wearing jeans on April 25. Sim­ply collect "Dollars for Denim" at work, school, or within your group, then drop the pledges off at your local Someplace Safe office, or mail to: P.O. Box 815, Fergus Falls, MN 56538-0815.

For more information, and to learn more about Denim Day, visit www.denimday.info. For additional information about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, visit the National Sex­ual Violence Resource Center website at www.nsvrc.org.

If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual as­sault, sexual exploitation, or another crime, please contact your local Someplace Safe office or call our 24-hour crisis line at (800) 974-3359 to speak to a trained advocate. Free and confidential advocacy services include accessibility via: interpreters, live chat, and text options.

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