os Angeles Elected Officials and Hundreds of Advocates Join Millions in the Global Rallying Cry to End Sexual Violence for the 25th Anniversary of Denim Day

Despite progress, sexual violence remains common with CDC data showing more than half of US women affected 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month – Denim Day was founded in Los Angeles in 1999 


LOS ANGELES – April 24, 2024 – Elected officials and hundreds of advocates and survivors converged on Los Angeles City Hall today for the 25th anniversary of Denim Day, lifting their voices in unison and calling for an end to all forms of sexual violence. Denim Day is the world’s longest-running sexual violence prevention and education campaign with supporters wearing denim as an act of solidarity with survivors of sexual violence everywhere. On Denim Day every April, individuals come together and issue a rallying call: There is no excuse and never an invitation to harass, abuse, assault or rape.

Welcomed by the sounds of musical group Mariachis Lindas Mexicanas, advocates and survivors stood side-by-side with elected officials to show their support during the rally including: Lindsay Horvath, Los Angeles County Supervisor for the Third District and Chair of the Board; Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor for the First District; Eunisses Hernandez, Los Angeles City Councilmember for the First District; Heather Hutt, Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 10th District; Traci Park, Los Angeles City Councilmember for the 11th District; Hydee Feldstein Soto, City Attorney for Los Angeles; George Gascón, Los Angeles County District Attorney; Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles City Mayor; Patti Giggans, CEO of Peace Over Violence and Founder of Denim Day; Rita García, survivor advocate and Peer Support Navigator at TransLatin@ Coalition; and Ayesha Perry-Iqbal, survivor and women’s advocate. The rally was followed by a public demonstration of self-defense best practices, empowering individuals to know how to best guard against an attempted sexual assault attack.

“For twenty-five years, millions around the world have heard our cry to end sexual violence everywhere on Denim Day and though there has been progress, it remains a public health crisis affecting people of all ages and genders in communities everywhere,” said Giggans during the rally. “And now, with the pending loss of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding from the Victims of Crimes Act, survivors will face a future without the services and resources that help them recover and heal from trauma. We must not let this happen. Sexual violence threatens the health of our communities and is a significant contributing factor to homelessness and other social harms. On this 25th anniversary of Denim Day, we rally to make sure our voices stay loud and heard because survivors deserve more.”

Giggans and the Los Angeles-based domestic violence organization Peace Over Violence started Denim Day in 1999 in response to an egregious injustice that sparked international outrage when the Italian Supreme Court issued a verdict overturning a rapist’s conviction. The justices justified their action, arguing that because the victim wore tight jeans she must have helped her attacker remove them, implying consent. The spontaneous protest following the unjust verdict grew into an international movement of awareness and support for survivors of rape and sexual violence, shepherded by Peace Over Violence annually over the last 25 years. Since 1999, Denim Day has expanded and is recognized in more than 100 countries around the world.

Denim Day 2024 comes at a crucial time where millions of dollars in federal funding from the Victims of Crimes Act is expected to stop flowing to local service providers. This funding has historically supported survivors of sexual violence with much-needed services, and the loss of funding will reduce access to rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, child abuse prevention programs, and legal assistance for survivors of human trafficking among other supports.

According to the CDC, sexual violence remains common in the US, impacting millions of individuals every year from every community and people of all genders, sexual orientations, and ages. It is commonly accepted that the actual numbers are higher, with sexual violence underreported due to stigma, fear of repercussions, and social attitudes that blame victims. Over half of all women and almost 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes.

The impacts of this loss of federal funding are expected to contribute to an increase in homelessness in Los Angeles and across California with state data showing nearly a quarter of individuals seeking homeless services reported having experienced domestic violence during half of 2023. The Downtown Women’s Center’s 2022 Los Angeles County Women’s Needs Assessment also shows nearly a quarter of women experienced homelessness as a result of intimate partner violence. This is critical because of the linkages among homelessness, sexual violence, and domestic/intimate partner violence.

For information, visit www.denimday.org and www.peaceoverviolence.org.