Press Releases

All 5 Borough Presidents Co-Sponsor Op-Ed Writing Contest for NYC Undergraduate College Students: "Telling the Truth about Sexual Violence"

Op-ed Contest is part of 4th Annual Denim Day NYC Activities

April 24, 2013 - Elected officials, anti-violence and youth-serving organizations, university and college students, advocates and survivors will gather on the steps of City Hall on April 24th at noon for a rally and press conference to observe Denim Day NYC, a citywide initiative to raise awareness about sexual violence, and the ways in which individuals and communities can work to end gender-based violence. A landmark survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives. The CDC also finds that LGBT individuals report experiencing sexual violence at levels equal to or higher than heterosexual individuals.

Highlights of Denim Day NYC include:

* Citywide College Op-Ed Writing Contest with $2,500 in prizes
* Tabling by 13 Rape Crisis Programs in hospital lobbies on April 24th
* A Denim Day NYC PSA written and produced by college students

The five Borough Presidents, in collaboration with the all-volunteer Denim Day NYC Planning Committee, co-sponsored the Denim Day NYC 2013 Op-ed Writing Contest: Telling the Truth About Sexual Violence with the goal of celebrating the voices of college students and engaging them to think critically about the issue of sexual assault. The contest, which ended on April 8th, was open to all NYC college students currently enrolled, either full-time or part-time, in a 2- or 4-year college or university in one of the five boroughs. One op-ed winner from each of borough has been selected, and each winner will be awarded a $500 prize at the April 24th Denim Day NYC press conference.

Denim Day NYC is held in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April). For the third consecutive year, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and Council Member Julissa Ferreras will share emcee duties at the April 24th Denim Day NYC rally and press conference. For the fourth straight year, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center is organizing hospital-based rape crisis programs throughout New York City to distribute information on free, confidential sexual assault services and resources.

The 2013 Denim Day NYC Planning Committee is chaired by the Manhattan Borough President's Office, and the member organizations include: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Start Strong Bronx, STEPS To End Family Violence, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center, Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP), YWCA of Brooklyn and the Frank and Ruth E. Caruso Foundation.

"We know that one in five women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, that men are also victims of this crime and that sexual violence is widely underreported. During April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), it is important to draw attention to this often overlooked issue," said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. "That is why my office worked with our City's Borough Presidents and a coalition of advocates to promote Denim Day NYC on April 24. This year we launched an op-ed writing contest for college students in New York City, and I am incredibly impressed by the thoughtful submissions of our five winners - one from each borough. I would like to extend particular recognition to Manhattan's own Lauren Peterson of the New School for making our borough proud with her winning entry. It is critical that we continue a dialogue about the problem of sexual violence and work to prevent it from occurring in our community during SAAM and year-round."

"Denim Day is an important way to focus on sexual assault awareness and women's rights, and my office is proud once again to support this initiative. Statistics show us that we have a great deal of work to do to reduce sexual assault, and through awareness campaigns such as 'Denim Day' we can take those meaningful steps," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"Bravo to the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and all the participating community-based organizations that have helped to organize "Denim Day" events across the city -bringing communities together and raising awareness about sexual assault. I am glad to join my colleague Scott Stringer-the president of the "outer borough" of Manhattan, the City Council's Chair of Women's Issues Julissa Ferreras- in fighting against sex crimes," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "Change always starts with our children - so our only hope of making these horrible acts a thing of the past is if we make it clear at a young age that sexual coercion of any kind will absolutely not be tolerated."

"Sexual violence is a scourge that affects a great number of young individuals and their families. Here in Queens, we work hard to use combined resources at the local and federal levels to eliminate sexual and domestic violence. By showing our support for Denim Day NYC we can send a message across our city, across mountains and across oceans that rape is a violent crime that cannot be excused by blaming the victim," said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall. "I am happy to join my colleagues in government, along with the private sector, groups and organizations here today, to tell the truth about sexual violence. I am also proud of Queens' own Jacob Zhang, and, on behalf of the family of Queens County, congratulate him on his award-winning op-ed piece."

"As Chair of the Women's Issues Committee, I am proud to participate in the annual Denim Day Rally. It gives us a great opportunity to stand up against sexual violence," Council Member Julissa Ferreras said. "By wearing denim in observance of this day, we are sending the message that all women deserve respect, regardless of which clothing they choose to wear. Through my work with my colleagues in government, I look forward to spreading awareness on sexual violence against women and continuing our fight to end it."

Denim Day community partners include: Anti-Violence Project NYC, Barrier Free Living, Center for Anti-violence Education, Children's Aid Society, GEMS: Girls Education and Mentoring Services, Hollaback, inMotion, Joyful Heart Foundation, Korean American Family Service Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center, Mt. Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program, New York Asian Women's Center, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Safe Horizon, Staten Island Legal Services, and Staten Island LGBT Community Center.

Background on Denim Day

Peace Over Violence (POV), a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, has been organizing an annual Denim Day LA & USA since 1999. Launched after an Italian Supreme Court justice overturned a rape conviction on grounds that the victim must have helped her attacker remove her skinny jeans, thus implying consent, the wearing of jeans has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault.

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