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Contact:

Danielle Fairlee, Nakatomi & Associates


Cell: (818) 606-2210, danielle@nakatomipr.com
Kristin Bray, ELEMENTS Events
(310) 393-3201, Kristin@ElementsEvents.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Denim Day in LA & USA Founder Patti Giggans
to Receive Community Angel of Peace Award Sept. 30

Expert on Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention
Will be Honored in L.A. for 30+ years of Leadership


LOS ANGELES (Sept. 23, 2014)The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles will honor
Patricia Occhiuzzo (Patti) Giggans on Sept. 30
th
with its 2014 Community Angel of Peace Award for her more than
three decades of raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence, and for her leadership in bringing the
violence prevention movement from the feminist backrooms of Los Angeles to boardrooms, military bases, schools
and universities, and the mainstream media everywhere.
I am honored to receive this award on the heels of several remarkable years for our movement, Giggans
said, from the headquarters of Peace Over Violence, the Los Angeles-based nonprofit founded in 1971 as the Los
Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women. Giggans also is the founder of Denim Day in LA and USA, an
international sexual violence and prevention campaign held annually during Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
The Community Angel of Peace Award will be presented to Giggans on Tuesday, Sept. 30 at an awards
luncheon at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Also being honored at the event are Union Bank, receiving the Corporate
Angel of Peace Award, and the television show The Fosters, receiving the Media Angel of Peace Award. For tickets
or information, visit www.vpcgla.org.
On hand to present the award to Giggans will be Robert K. Ross, M.D., president and CEO of The California
Endowment, a health foundation established in 1996 to address the health needs of Californians. "Patti and her
Peace over Violence organization have provided leadership for a transformed understanding of the issue of domestic
violence, Dr. Ross said. Through their work, we now see domestic violence as a preventable, solvable, and fixable
problem."
Pattis decades of leadership are an inspiration, and her work in framing sexual assault and domestic
violence as a preventable public-health issue remains visionary, said Kaile Shilling, director of the Violence
Prevention Coalition.
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Giggans Angel of Peace Award
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Patti and Peace Over Violence advance a vision of a world without violence by working on the ground, by
reaching out to unexpected partners, because they have always believed that violence is connected, Shilling
continued. Her work creating Denim Day has challenged us to re-frame how we see violenceas something that
must be changed in the mindset of the perpetrators, not something where we blame victims. Developing a curriculum
around building healthy relationships in middle schoolsall of these are forward-thinking, prevention-based
approaches to ending the epidemic of violence, and is why we're so glad to recognize her.
Giggans points to recent watershed events that have raised our nations consciousness about sexual and
domestic violence, including release of the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary The Invisible War, which changed
national policy about rape and sexual assault in the military. She also cited the Penn State University child sexual
abuse scandal; the #notallwomen social media campaign in the wake of the tragic May 2014 killings at UC Santa
Barbara, and recent nationwide protests by students against underreporting of rape statistics on college campuses.
These are all tipping-points in bringing awareness to the scope of sexual violence in our communities,
Giggans said. Thanks to community activism and social media, we are seeing these issues discussed and debated
in a way weve never seen before; no longer are these topics taboo or discussed behind closed doors or swept under
the rug. But she says the recent case involving the NFL and Ray Rice proves how far we still have to go.
Domestic violence awareness and rape prevention was once seen as a purely womens issue, she said.
Today, that tent has expanded to include everyone as we develop public health approaches to address the causes
of violence. We know there are no excuses for rape or assault and because of that, weve focused on institutional
accountability so that the military, churches, universities and other organizations cannot ignore rape and cannot
silence survivors.
Giggans has been the executive director of Peace Over Violence, a sexual and domestic violence and youth
violence prevention center since 1985. Additionally, she has held numerous statewide and national leadership
positions, including with 1in6, the California Domestic Violence Advisory Council, the California Coalition Against
Sexual Assault (CALCASA), and the California Partnership To End Domestic Violence (CPEDV). A black belt in
Karate and master self-defense trainer, Giggans founded Karate Women, the first martial arts school in Southern
California in 1976.
She has co-created violence prevention programs and curricula including In Touch With Teens and
Womens Self Defense and Safety. She has also co-authored several books, most recently When Dating Becomes
Dangerous: A Parents Guide To Preventing Relationship Abuse. Giggans is a recipient of The California Peace
Prize, and is a Durfee Foundation Stanton Fellow.
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