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County, Zonta Club Raise Awareness About Sexual Assault on Denim Day

April 17, 2022, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated April 17, 2:38 PM
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 Hawai‘i County Council Members Ashley Kierkiewicz and Heather Kimbell with Zonta Club of Hilo members for Denim Day 2022. Pictured, from left, are Kierkiewicz, Kimball, Charlene Iboshi, Jan Higashi, Wendy Botelho, Julie Engelhardt, Nina Buchanan, Barbara Hastings and Kathleen McGilvray. (Photos courtesy of Zonta Club of Hilo)

The public is encouraged to wear jeans with a purpose on Wednesday, April 27, and show their support for sexual assault survivors.

In an effort to promote sexual assault prevention and education, the Zonta Club of Hilo partners annually with the mayor’s office, County Council and county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for Denim Day, which is observed on the last Wednesday of April.

Zonta Club of Hilo President Julie Engelhardt and advocacy chairperson Charlene Iboshi with Hawai‘i County Mayor Mitch Roth.

“Sexual violence is a public health and safety issue that affects both women and men alike. It is difficult to discuss, and it often goes unmentioned, leaving many to suffer in silence,” says a Denim Day proclamation by Mayor Mitch Roth. “Denim Day … works to start conversations about the destructive attitudes surrounding sexual assault.”

According to a press release from the Zonta Club of Hilo, Denim Day grew out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The decision resulted in outrage from people around the world, and wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault.

“The County of Hawai‘i is dedicated to supporting the Denim Day initiative, as there is no excuse for and no invitation to rape,” the mayor’s proclamation says.

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If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or click here to get assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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“Denim Day aligns with the global ‘Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women’ campaign, which brings awareness to these issues and advocates on behalf of gender-based violence survivors,” the Zonta Club of Hilo press release said.

For more information, click here.

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