Rockford organizations recognize Denim Day April 24
By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD — Organizations throughout Rockford will observe Denim Day Wednesday, April 24, as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
For the second year in a row, the City of Rockford is asking the community to wear denim, take individual or group pictures and share them on social media using #DenimDay #UWDenimDay and #815DenimDay.
A Denim Day sign can be downloaded at unitedwayrrv.org/denimday.
“It’s incumbent on all of us,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said, “to make sure that if you have young children that you are talking to them about the risks that are out there–specifically, if you have young men in your home to make sure to talk to them about what it means to be a good person.”
Rockford University will hold a sexual violence prevention event at 7 p.m., Wednesday, at Regents Hall. A panel of speakers from the Rockford area will discuss and answer questions focusing on sexual violence among students. The program is part of the university’s partnership with Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention, Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, and United Way.
Developed by Peace Over Violence, the Denim Day campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans during the 1992 incident, she must have helped her attacker remove her pants.
Following the ruling, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans to support the victim. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against inaccurate and destructive misconceptions about sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape.
Rockford University is 5050 E. State St. The program is free.
City officials will visit Roosevelt Community Education Center Wednesday to speak to students about teen dating violence.
“We are going to talk to them about how to show respect to everyone but specifically to young women.” the mayor said.
In Rockford, domestic violence accounts for more than 35 percent of the city’s violent crime. In 2016, Illinois ranked eighth in the county for reported human trafficking cases. Rockford was ranked second in the state behind Chicago. R.