Wear your jeans, raise awareness for sexual assault

Sexual Assault Awareness Month promotes support from the community by advocating for participation in Denim Day



Pictured are a few pairs of decorated jeans that will be on display April 30th at locations around Chippewa County.

Story by Lauren Kritter, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: Due to safety concerns, members of Family Support Center have asked not to be identified with their last names.

Sexual assault and abuse affects many men and women. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which gives victims an opportunity to take a stand and receive support from community members.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month honors victims in many ways. Everyone is welcome to support survivors of sexual violence by wearing their jeans and participating in the annual Denim Day on April 29.

This event started in 1998 when a young woman was sexually assaulted for wearing a pair of jeans that were “too tight.” People heard about this and protested the victim being blamed by wearing their jeans. Their idea behind this got around, and it has been a national day ever since.

This will be the second year Chippewa County has been actively participating in Denim Day. The event has grown dramatically since they started pushing it last year.

“Denim Day has been our focus over the past year and we encourage you to share your jean pictures to show your support,” Stephanie M., sexual assault coordinator at Family Support Center, said.  “Although it’s a small thing you can do, it definitely can still make a difference.”

Along with Denim Day, on Thursday there will be displays at seven locations around Chippewa Country of pairs of jeans with messages written on them. This is done to help show support to survivors while giving them an opportunity to have a voice.

Another event is the kNOw More informational event, where organizations like Planned Parenthood, Student Health Services on UW-Eau Claire’s campus and many others come together to take a stand against sexual violence.  The event also contains an open microphone for musicians and performers, and survivors are able to go up and talk about their experiences to the public.

The Family Support Center is a non-profit organization that does a lot during the year to help be the best support they can for victims of sexual assault.

“Our main purpose is to provide advocacy and services to all victims,” Stephanie said.

The center caters to men, women and children and all services are free and confidential.  There is also a 24-hour hotline where trained advocates will provide supportive counseling.

Their purpose is to help people get the help they need with their situation, whether it be connecting them to other services, providing medical help or providing resources and support.

“There is always someone who will answer the calls and get them where they need to be,” Stephanie said.

The 24-hour hotline is run by volunteers, and they are always looking for more people to help out and make a difference in victims’ lives.