Milwaukee honors survivors of sexual assault on 12th annual Denim Day

NOW: Milwaukee honors survivors of sexual assault on 12th annual Denim Day

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Denim Day is an International Day of Awareness for survivors of sexual assault.

City leaders gathered at Northwest Health Center in Milwaukee to honor the 12th annual Denim Day.

"Unfortunately, sexual violence can occur at any point in someone's lifespan," said Mayor Cavalier Johnson.

Milwaukee County Executive, David Crowley, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffery Norman and Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski were all in attendance to show their support along with advocates.

Denim Day is observed the last Wednesday of April to mark the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. City leaders say it's a day of action to show survivors that they are supported.

"It takes partnerships and intersectional approaches to combat an issue as complex as sexual violence," said Mayor Johnson.

"When you're going through those emotions, you do feel alone," said Tiffany, a survivor. She says it means the world to know that support is available to her and others with similar experiences.

"It is absolutely okay to share your story. Understand what happened to you is not your fault. These are not things that we wake up and look forward to happening so we have to understand that we should not wear that guilt," she said.

The International Denim Day campaign dates back to the 90's when an Italian Supreme Court overturned a sexual assault case because of what the victim was wearing.

"Her case was overturned because she was wearing tight jeans, so they stated that she had to have helped her perpetrator remove her pants," said Patrice McBeath, Clinical Mental Health Professional.

She says the purpose of Denim Day is to stand with survivors. "No matter what you're wearing, no matter what the circumstances, no one should ever violate you in that way," she said.

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