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Milwaukee Leaders Stand In Solidarity With Sexual Assault Victims For Denim Day

Students Speaks Out Against Rape on Denim Day
David McNew
/
Getty Images
A woman looks at blue jeans with messages challenging misconceptions about sexual violence, hung by the UCLA Clothesline Project, on the University of California Los Angeles campus during Denim Day April 21, 2004.

Every 73 seconds, a person in the United States is sexually assaulted. Before the age of 18, approximately one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually assaulted. That’s according to TeAngelo Cargile, injury and violence prevention coordinator of Milwaukee’s Health Department.

On Wednesday, Cargile emphasized the importance of sexual assault awareness at a Denim Day commemoration event. He also announced a federal grant that will inject money into the city to better respond to domestic violence and sexual assault, especially among Milwaukee's youth.

"This grant will allow us in partnership with UMOS as our victim service provider, Fresh Start and Community Advocates to make significant change in these areas," Cargile said.

Speaking at a virtual event to support sexual assault survivors, Cargile was joined by Kathy Flores, a statewide anti-violence program director for Diverse and Resilient. The nonprofit serves the LGBTQ community. According to Flores, the rates of sexual violence against transgender people in Milwaukee are higher than the national average.

"LGBTQ community members, specifically transgender community members, face higher rates of poverty, homelessness, community stigma, and all of that places them at a higher risk for sexual assault," Flores said.

Denim Day became an international day of sexual assault awareness more than 20 years ago and yesterday marked its 10 year anniversary in Milwaukee.

Mayor Tom Barrett, who was also present at the event, shared Denim Day’s history: "This [day] came out of a court case where a woman who was a victim of sexual violence, ultimately did not see justice, because a judge decided that because of the clothes that she was wearing that ... she must have been invading some type of sexual advance. Obviously, that is not the case."

The case sparked international backlash and women government representatives wore denim to protest the ruling. Today, wearing jeans on Denim Day is a way to to show support for sexual assault survivors. Denim Day takes place on the last Wednesday of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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