Columbus area observes Denim Day

COLUMBUS, Indiana — More than 50 businesses, offices, churches and other organizations in Columbus and surrounding areas joined others around the nation Wednesday for the 18th annual Denim Day, which focuses on raising awareness about sexual violence.

Denim Day was created to engage the public through a simple means of protest by wearing jeans or other denim items while encouraging open dialogue about sexual assault.

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services distributed more than 1,800 buttons, 3,000 stickers and 200 posters locally to help increase awareness to sexual violence, said Elisabeth Jones, vice president of resource development.

Organizations and businesses were encouraged to allow their employees to wear jeans as a visible sign of support for survivors of sexual abuse and to encourage open discussion about reducing community violence.

The campaign began after a ruling by an Italian Supreme Court when a rate conviction was overturned because the justices said the victim was wearing tight jeans and must have helped her rapist remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, women in Italy’s Parliament went to work wearing jeans to signal support for the victim. More than 11 million people participated in Denim Day in 2016 in the United States.