FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KDHE Contact: Miranda Steele, 785-296-5795
Topeka – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) invites state agencies and other Kansas employers to join the state health department in supporting Denim Day by allowing employees to wear jeans on Wednesday, April 24. Denim Day is a response to a 1999 Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has been a symbol of support for victims of sexual violence and protest against the idea that a victim could cause their own rape.
“Sexual violence is a public health issue that impacts every Kansas community,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “Kansas women who experienced unwanted sex were more likely to have diagnosed depression, diagnosed anxiety, self-rated fair/poor health and thought about taking their lives in the past year.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped in their lifetime. In Kansas, nearly 1 in 10 women 18 years and older had experienced unwanted sex in their lifetime. The Kansas-specific data are from the 2011 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System administered by KDHE.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Governor’s proclamation affirms that, “with leadership, dedication and encouragement, there is evidence that we can be successful in preventing sexual violence in Kansas through increased education, awareness and community involvement.”
“If you have been a victim of sexual assault, there is help,” said Moser. “To find sexual and domestic violence help in your area, visit www.kcsdv.org or call the Kansas Crisis Hotline at 1-888-363-2287.”
If organizations in Kansas would like to participate in Denim Day, they can contact Laurie Hart, Kansas Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program Manager, at email@example.com or 785-296-8476.
KDHE’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program provides resources and technical assistance to communities and schools to assist in the development, enhancement and evaluation of local sexual violence prevention and education initiatives. For additional information on the Kansas Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Program visit www.kdheks.gov/rpe.