"Each April, we honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I am thankful for the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators for bringing Denim Day to the Massachusetts State House. Since 1999, we honor Denim Day on the last Wednesday of April.
Peace Over Violence shares the origins of Denim Day: “The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement. As the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.”
I am proud to co-chair the Sexual Violence Working Group within the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, and excited to get to work with Rep. Christina Miniccuci and use our decades of experience as rape crisis counselors to move this work forward.
There are a number of bills I am continuing to work on related to sexual violence services and prevention this session — An Act relative to a sexual assault counselor taskforce (H4330) and An Act establishing a bill of rights for sexual violence survivors (H1644) — and we’re continuing to monitor the progress of the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in ending the backlog of sexual assault evidence kits in Massachusetts. We also have a number of bills that were sent to study that we are planning on refiling in the new Legislative Session, including updates to the 258E Harassment Prevention Orders (H1820) and affirmative consent education (H615).
I cannot thank our Rape Crisis Centers enough for all of the support they provide survivors and their loved ones each and every day, 24/7, even with the challenges COVID-19 presented. We are lucky to have Pathways for Change in Worcester County working towards a world without sexual violence. You can learn more about their work at www.pathwaysforchange.help, and their 24-hour Support Line is available at 800-870-5905."