LACASA Center is hosting a series of events that help spark a conversation for National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in April.

LACASA, whose mission is to help victims of interpersonal violence while providing educational awareness has 3 special events planned to increase awareness about the myths and misconceptions surrounding sexual abuse.

The 21st annual Clothesline Project is a month-long event that displays t-shirts made by abuse victims allowing them to share the story of how they’ve survived through the trauma of sexual assault. The t-shirts will be on display at all 6 Livingston County libraries. This includes the Brighton Area District Library, Fowlerville District Library, Hamburg Library, Hartland Cromaine Library, Howell Carnegie Library, and Pinckney Community Library. Community Education Director Nicole Matthews-Creech Matthews-Creech said that inevitably children at the libraries see the t-shirts, and it opens a conversation with parents about the need to have safety and who to tell if that safety is compromised.

Wednesday, April 24th brings the return of Denim Day. This international event was sparked when an Italian court overturned a rape conviction, stating that because the victim wore tight jeans, she must have helped her assailant remove them, thus implying consent. Matthews-Creech said that the message behind Denim Day is that it doesn’t matter what you are wearing, or your actions, no one is justified in sexual assault. Sometimes, she points out, that the victim is made to assist out of fear or force, as they feel it is their only choice. She said that they at LACASA would love to see pictures of people participating in Denim Day. Many businesses, Matthews-Creech said, offer employees the opportunity to get away with wearing jeans for Denim Day for a small donation to LACASA, but even if that’s not the case, they still want to see.

Rounding out the month is a special screening of the documentary “Every Two Minutes” at the Historic Howell Theater, on April 26th. The film was produced by local resident, MSU student, and sexual assault survivor, Laura Swanson. It highlights the unspoken issue of sexual assault through interviews with survivors and advocates, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Following the screening, a panel discussion that includes, Swanson, other survivors, and a therapist will take place. Doors open at 7pm, with the film beginning at 7:30.The event is free, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early to secure seating.

More information on these events and all that LACASA does can be found on their website, (MK)