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Denim Day supports violence awareness

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Employees around Columbus are wearing jeans Wednesday for a cause.

Columbus’ Domestic Violence Action Team is asking businesses to allow employees to wear jeans to work that day.

Denim Day is a national effort to raise awareness about sexual assault and to support education programs to prevent it.

It’s the first year employees around Columbus are being asked to participate, said Marla Morse, team coordinator.

The Domestic Violence Action Team is organized through the Healthy Communities program at Columbus Regional Health.

About 30 area residents serve on the team, which meets every other month to plan programming and work to prevent domestic violence.

Hospital employees will be wearing jeans Wednesday, as well as Mayor Kristen Brown and City Hall employees.

Also signed up to participate: MainSource Bank, Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., Enkei and Elwood Staffing.

The Denim Day campaign was triggered by a ruling in an Italian Supreme Court that overturned a rape conviction. The judge ruled that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her attacker remove them, thereby implying consent. The next day, women in the Italian Parliament went to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

“Our goal is to create a comprehensive system of awareness, response, education and training to the Bartholomew County community to offer support to domestic and sexual assault victims and their families,” said Kelly Benjamin, chairwoman of the Domestic Violence Action Team. “One step in creating change is building awareness.”

Since this is the first year Columbus is participating, employees wearing jeans won’t have stickers or badges that identify the cause, Benjamin said. However, posters have been placed along Washington Street in downtown Columbus and in area schools as a reminder that April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, she said.

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