Peace Over Violence’s 17th Annual Denim Day will be on April 27, 2016 during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We began gearing up with our Official Fashion Sponsor, GUESS, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown LA. About 400 people gathered together, all from diverse and unique parts of this movement; from direct service providers to fashion leaders all spreading the message to support survivors.
This evening takes the message, “There is no excuse and never an invitation to rape,” off the button and shows that we are motivated to take this campaign beyond a day, beyond April 27th. We are intentional about starting these conversations early, intentional about who we’re having the conversations with, and intentional about stressing that Denim Day is a symbol of our support for survivors but our promise is that we live that message daily.
The beautiful space was filled with longtime supporters of the campaign and influencers in the fashion industry. The night began with Acapella group “Acasola” of CSUN who sang, “Til It Happens To You,” written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga. The moving performance was followed by Denim Day founder and Peace Over Violence Executive Director, Patti Giggans, “To change this culture, we need leadership from every sector of our society – and it requires all of us – every single one of us must decide, must take the Denim Day promise to support survivors – all survivor – the ones we know and AND the ones we don’t.” Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of the Board, Paul Marciano, confirmed the importance and value that an international name and brand brings to this campaign and to the movement to end sexual violence, “The Guess woman is sexy and confident, but sexy is NEVER an invitation to rape, and we are here to spread that message and create awareness even further by bringing Denim Day across the globe.”
The crowd’s full attention was on the screen as everyone watched clips from Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars, combined with the words and support of our President and Vice President, leading into the trailer of the chilling and motivating film, “The Hunting Ground.” Filmmakers, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, shared what the film has been able to further with institutional changes and new laws created. They shared the responses they’ve received and the many students, survivors, families who have shared that they have been impacted by this film in positive ways. One example was a student who said she received a call from her mother apologizing for how she treated her when she told her she was sexually assaulted, her mother had just watched the film, “Thank you for giving me my relationship with my mom back.”
We were all in awe of the strength that then took the stage, as Kamiliah, one of the survivors from the film, a Harvard Law School graduate, shared the positive impact this has had on her as a survivor but also that is clear there is so much work to be done, as she mentioned that 19 Professors rallied around the person who sexually assaulted her. Kamilah expressed that the best impact by the documentary for her has been that she is “not alone.”
The 2016 Denim Day PSA was premiered with spokescouple Maya Jupiter and Aloe Blacc, who then came on stage and shared how important it is for all of to unite together as women and men to always support survivors, and not be silent about these issues and not be content with a culture that does not believe survivors or ignores rape. Maya announced the release of her music video, “Never Said Yes,” which was inspired by The Hunting Ground and Denim Day.
The entire audience was energized to make the Denim Day promise:
- To recognize that sexual violence is everyone’s issue.
- Participate in the national conversation about rape and sexual violence with the hashtags #GearUp #DenimDay.
- To support survivors and not blame the victim.
- To engage in healthy and violence free relationships.
Join with us on Wednesday April 27th and wear jeans with a purpose!