DATE: April 5, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Miriam Firpo-Jimenez, Nancy J. Cotterman Center
Broward County joins the rest of the nation in observing Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention Month during April. The County’s Nancy J. Cotterman Center (NJCC) is promoting the prevention of sexual violence and child abuse through special events and public education during the observance.
This year’s themes, “It's Time...To Talk About It," underscores the fact that sexual assault and child abuse are intolerable crimes affecting everyone. "We want everyone to start talking about healthy childhood development to help prevent child sexual and physical abuse," said Miriam Firpo-Jimenez, director of the Nancy J. Cotterman Center. Local activities include:
Governmental Center Exhibit – Through April 30
Throughout April, residents are invited to stop by the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, to view a powerful exhibit of survivor art and awareness.
Community Resource Fair and Celebration – Broward AWARE! – April 13
NJCC along with the Children’s Services Council, ChildNet, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies and other community partners, will host “Broward AWARE! Protecting OUR Children" campaign Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at The Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park, 2520 N.W. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale. This day of safety and welfare presentations, entertainment, food and prizes is free and open to the public.
Denim Day – April 23
Residents are encouraged to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing denim and denim ribbons to bring attention to sexual assault and child abuse, and protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault.
Denim Day was started in Rome, Italy, in 1997. An 18-year-old girl was picked up by her 45-year-old driving instructor for her first lesson. He took her to an isolated road where he raped her and threatened her with death if she told anyone. She reported the assault and pressed charges. The instructor was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. He appealed and the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and released the perpetrator. The chief judge argued that, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.” Enraged by the verdict, women in the Italian Parliament launched an immediate protest by wearing jeans to work. The California Senate and Assembly were motivated to do the same, and a movement was born. Broward County has supported the Denim Day campaign since 2009.
About the Nancy J. Cotterman Center
The Nancy J. Cotterman Center, formerly Broward County's Sexual Assault Treatment Center, provides a safe, non-threatening environment for victims and supportive family members. Services are intended to assist in matters of public safety, to help families understand what has happened and to aid in their recovery. The Center was renamed in 2012 to honor Nancy J. Cotterman, who advocated tirelessly for adult and child victims of sexual and physical abuse through her work at the Broward County Sexual Assault Treatment Center.
NJCC functions as a safety net for victims of sexual assault and/or child abuse and their families, and collaborates with community partners in the areas of law enforcement, child protection investigations, state attorney’s office, attorney general, department of health and others.
For more information on services of the Nancy J. Cotterman Center or Sexual Assault Awareness Month, call 954-357-5775 or visit broward.org/Community Partnerships and click SEXUAL ASSAULT.