Rock Those Jeans for a Good Cause

Denim Day raises awareness about sexual violence

Thousands of Angelenos took a little time out from Earth Day on Wednesday to celebrate the 11th annual Denim Day in L.A.

Not to be outdone by Earth Day's awareness campaign of the Earth, Denim Day also has a good cause.

"This campaign gives people the chance to make a social statement with their fashion statement while supporting survivors of sexual assault and spreading awareness about sexual violence," according to denimdayinla.org.

The event began in 1999 when an Italian court overturned a rape conviction partially because the victim was wearing tight jeans -- something the justices reasoned the suspect couldn't have removed without the victim's help.

"Rape is still the most under-reported and most silent of crimes. Today is a day to speak out. Today is a day to raise awareness," actress Calista Flockhart said Wednesday at a Los Angeles City Council meeting.

More than 600,000 supporters took part in 2008 and more were expected to participate this year, including high school and college students, and employees of leading corporations and businesses.

Flockhart, the group's national spokeswoman, planned to visit Roosevelt High School; actress Rosario Dawson and Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries scheduled an afternoon news conference; and students at Eagle Rock High School planned a rally.

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In West Hollywood, city employees wore denim and gathered outside City Hall for an annual Denim Day employee photograph.

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking can contact Peace Over Violence's 24-hour hotlines at 213-626-3393 in central Los Angeles, 310-392-8381 in South L.A. and 626-793-3386 in the west San Gabriel Valley.

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