In a significant move to highlight and combat sexual violence, the Coalition for Family Harmony is gearing up to host its third annual Denim Day event on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. This year’s gathering is especially poignant as it coincides with the 25th anniversary of Denim Day, a campaign that has grown into a worldwide movement to support survivors of sexual assault.

Denim Day originated from a 1998 ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her assailant remove them, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

Located in Oxnard, California, the Coalition for Family Harmony stands as Ventura County’s sole rape crisis center, dedicated to assisting survivors of sexual violence. For this year’s fundraising event, a dinner hosted at the Pacific View Tower, the Coalition has set an ambitious goal of raising $25,000. These funds are vital, going towards providing essential services for survivors, encompassing emergency, legal, and emotional support.

The Denim Day event receives backing from a suite of prestigious sponsors, including Kaiser Permanente, Ventura County Credit Union, and the Port of Hueneme, all united in their commitment to support survivors and foster a community that is informed and proactive about preventing sexual assault.

In recognition of individuals and organizations going above and beyond in their advocacy and support for survivors, the event will also serve as a platform to honor those making significant contributions to the cause. Among the awardees, Mary Olson from KCLU will be receiving the esteemed Hero Award for her exceptional efforts in amplifying the voices of survivors within the community. Kaiser Permanente will be presented with the Change Makers Award, a testament to their substantial impact on creating a more supportive environment for survivors, following US Bank, last year’s recipient of the award.

Caroline Prijatel-Sutton, Psy.D., the Executive Director of the Coalition for Family Harmony, expressed profound gratitude towards the community and sponsors for their unwavering support. “Receiving support from our community shows us how important our mission is,” Prijatel-Sutton stated, emphasizing the collective effort in standing beside organizations that actively contribute to supporting survivors and championing sexual assault prevention.

The dedicated observance of Sexual Assault Awareness month in April, culminating in the Denim Day event, serves as a compelling reminder of the importance of community involvement in addressing and preventing sexual violence. By wearing denim on April 24, individuals can partake in a global statement of solidarity, raising awareness and sparking conversations aimed at ending sexual violence.

For those interested in supporting the Coalition for Family Harmony’s mission or seeking more information about the Denim Day event, opportunities to contribute and participate are open. Such initiatives underscore the power of community action in breaking the cycle of violence and offering hope and healing to survivors. With a history dating back to 1976, the Coalition’s enduring commitment to serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Ventura County remains as vital as ever.