Denim Day raises awareness in L.A.

LOS ANGELES Students across the Southland wore jeans on Wednesday to take part in rallies and participate in Denim Day 2008.

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Denim Day in LA is a campaign to raise awareness and educate the public about rape and sexual abuse.

Twenty-three-year-old Jennie who is a rape survivor, told her story Wednesday to the Los Angeles City Council.

"He did not want me to tell anybody the things that we would talk about or the things he did to me behind closed doors," said Jennie.

Jennie says that she was sexually assaulted from the age of 11 to 15.

"He was a person that was a friend of the family's. I have found this to be pretty common in a lot of other survivors and victims that I have spoken to. Friends of the family take advantage of the closeness and trust that the parents have in them and then abuse the children. That is basically what happened in our situation," Jennie said.

She urged the city council to process the backlog of 7,000 DNA rape kits in Los Angeles.

"I have been trying for years to get funding to test those kits and to hire the criminalist to catch these rapists. Rape is a repeat offender offense," said L.A. Councilman Jack Weiss.

Denim Day began 10 years ago when an Italian Supreme Court overturned a rapist conviction. The Supreme Court ruled on the appeal because the 17-year-old victim was wearing tight jeans and must have helped her attacker remove the pair of pants because they were too tight.

Wearing jeans on this day has since become a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes against sexual assault.

Seventy percent of those crimes are committed by someone who knows the victim.

"Now we are trying to say, 'Let's wake up. Let's not stay in denial because we know that it permeates. What can we do over the next 10 years to not only raise awareness, but to do more to prevent?'" asked Patti Giggans from Peace Over Violence.

"Even if it is just a friend that you tell, it is just to be able to empower yourself," added Jennie.


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