Written by Sandra Henriquez, Executive Director, CALCASA

Inspiration for the Denim Day campaign is rooted in the experiences of sexual assault survivors. Today, as we were joined by over 20 legislators at our state’s Capitol, I felt proud and inspired about the advances we are making in changing attitudes about sexual violence, about the partnerships we are forming, the allies we are gaining and DD (6)about placing the experiences of those who are most marginalized at the center of our work.

In 1999, a Supreme Court judge overturned the rape conviction of a driving instructor convicted of raping his student. The judge’s belief was that because the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The women of the Italian Parliament were outraged and showed up on the courts steps wearing jeans in a demonstration of solidarity with the rape victim. These women centered the experience of the survivor, thus spurring national inspiration. In response to the case and the activism around it, Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign, which is now recognized throughout California, the nation and even Italy. Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

Today I was inspired, as I listened to nearly 20 state legislators speak about the bills they have authored to increase accountability, increase justice for survivors and prevent sexual assault. As I witnessed the growing understanding and commitment by our legislators about the impact that sexual violence has and the belief that it can be prevented, I became acutely aware of how far we’ve come in centering the experiences of survivors of sexual assault – including military, campus, and incarcerated survivors. While I recognize how much work there still is to do, I am inspired about ensuring that out work focuses on ALL survivors, and that the voices of those who are often invisible and most marginalized are uplifted.

There were so many moments today when I felt pride and inspiration. I felt proud when Georgina, a janitorial worker had the courage to speak out about her sexual victimization. She talked about being a single mother, about being sexually assaulted at work and about the fear she experiences daily when she goes to work. In so doing, she reminded us that we are not defined by our victimization but we are complex people with complex lives, and survivorship is not all defining but is one experience that we carry. I watched as Georgina gave the audience insight into the circumstance and experience of thousands of other janitorial workers. I watched Georgina exude hope and inspiration as she called out the word often used in liberation movements “Basta!”

I felt proud of all the legislators, funders, partners and stakeholders that joined us today. I felt proud when a I saw legislators wearing jeans and an apron, the uniform that many janitorial workers wear, and when a handful of the members of the California Senate and Assembly, broke out in Spanish to speak directly to the janitorial workers, letting them know that they had been seen and that their voices are being heard. Among my greatest moment of pride was when the large crowd of Spanish and non-Spanish speakers closed out Denim Day California on the Capitol steps by joining and repeating the chant originally coined by Dolores Huerta in the Farmworkers Movement “¡Si, Se Puede!”


1999, the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. Since then, wearing jeans has been a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes about sexual assault. Join other leaders in jeans and sign the pledge to end sexual violence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm

South Steps, California State Capitol

RSVP to Shaina Brown


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month!

ribbonCALCASA is pleased to release its 2013 Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) materials.

CALCASA has put together a series of materials for use by California Rape Crisis Center Programs during SAAM. We encourage you to utilize these materials as a mechanism by which to generate funds, broaden partnerships and spread the message about sexual violence response and prevention.  Download each document in the “Downloadable Documents” section at the bottom of the page.

2013 Materials
Fact Sheets

The 2013 SAAM fact sheets include 4 sheets on the following topics:

Coming soon, each program will be provided with an individualized infographic for you to use with your legislators in order to demonstrate the need for raising funds to address sexual violence.

Media Guide

The 2013 SAAM media guide includes the following documents to assist in your efforts:

Denim Day California

Denim DayCALCASA is pleased to work with Peace Over Violence to develop Denim Day California materials. The purpose of Denim Day is to wear jeans as a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes about sexual violence. Denim Day California will take place on April 24, 2013. As CALCASA will recognize Denim Day on the steps of the State Capitol, many rape crisis centers will be holding their own Denim Day California events through the state. In March we will make available the logos, user guide, a Denim Day Toolkit developed by Peace Over Violence and send each center some Denim Day California materials.

NSVRC SAAM Materials

It's TimeThe National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s (NSVRC) focus for this year’s SAAM is healthy sexuality and child sexual abuse prevention. NSVRC have developed materials using the themes of “It’s Time … to Talk About It.” (Available at www.nsvrc.org)


Yesterday, legislators from across the state joined sexual assault advocates in recognizing Denim Day California, an event in which participants wear denim to “break the dress code and speak out against sexual violence.” CALCASA hosted the annual Denim Day rally on the West steps of the state Capitol.

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Wear denim as a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

Today is Denim Day, an event across California and the nation in which participants wear denim to “speak out against sexual violence.” Today CALCASA will host the annual Denim Day rally at the California state Capitol. Legislators and victim advocates will have an opportunity to speak at the event and sign a pledge to work together to prevent and end sexual violence.

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Denim Day is a an opportunity for rape crisis centers and rape prevention programs across the state to engage their communities, public officials and stakeholders, and shine the light on the issue of sexual assault. [click to continue…]

April 2012 has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is excited to partner with public officials, college campuses, law enforcement, victim advocates and communities across California to raise awareness. [click to continue…]

Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2012