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Wearing jeans to protest myths about sexual assault

Sacramento, CA, April 13, 2010 -- “Break the dress code. Break the silence. Wear denim.” That’s the rallying cry for National Denim Day, an event to raise awareness and funding to prevent sexual assaults. It’s also why you may see employees in Mechanics Bank and other Sacramento area businesses, nonprofits and government agencies wearing denim this April 21st.

The story behind the denim is this: In 1999 the Italian Supreme Court caused an international uproar when it overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans. (The judges opined that no one can remove a pair of jeans without the help of the wearer—thus making the alleged rape “consensual.”) Female legislators wore jeans to Parliament to protest the decision, and since then, wearing jeans on April 21 has become a symbol of protest against harmful attitudes and myths about rape and other sexual assaults.

Shante Perez, a private banking relationship officer at Mechanics Bank’s Roseville Office, is one of the organizers of the awareness and fundraising campaign, which in the Sacramento area is sponsored by PEACE for Families, a nonprofit organization located in Auburn, CA that provides help and safe houses for victims of domestic abuse. Mechanics Bank donated the cost of printing the flyers that are being distributed, and Perez even convinced her normally conservatively attired banking colleagues to agree to wear jeans on Denim Day. “I’m lucky to be working for an organization that is so community-focused,” Perez said. “Mechanics Bank not only encourages community involvement, but insists upon it. Each time a customer comes into one of our Sacramento offices on Denim Day, we have the chance to make a difference.”

Supporters also are asking for individual donations of $5, to be used to provide support for sexual assault survivors in Placer County. Donations can be made online at or mailed to PEACE for Families, P.O. Box 5462, Auburn, CA 95604.

Denim Day has broad support and participation in the Sacramento Region. In addition to Mechanics Bank, participants include the City of Auburn, City of Roseville, Placer County Sheriff, PCHHS and Adult System of Care, Wells Fargo (two branches), Rocklin Chamber of Commerce, Placer County ROP and Sierra College.

To learn more about Denim Day and PEACE for Families, visit


Shante Perez

Mary C. Barker
PEACE for Families

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About Mechanics Bank:

For more than a century, Mechanics Bank has been committed to helping people build prosperous communities as a trusted financial partner, forging lasting relationships through teamwork, respect and integrity. The $2.7 billion independent bank, headquartered in Richmond, California, offers personal banking, business banking, trust, brokerage and wealth management services through 33 offices across Northern California. For more information, please visit

Press contacts:

Ms. Hatti Hamlin

Mr. David Louis