Seventeen years ago, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the ruling of a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans, and this may have helped her rapist take her jeans off which implied consent. The very next day, women in the Italian Parliament wore denim jeans in solidarity with the victim.
Peace Over Violence, a non-profit organization which focuses on eliminating violence against women and children, created a campaign recognizing the injustice of this case. Every year, on a Wednesday in April, women all over the globe wear denim to fight against the false ideas of what it means to be sexually assaulted and what it means to give consent. The campaign is called Denim Day and has created social change all over the world.
This year Denim Day is celebrated on April 27th and there are so many ways to get involved! The simplest way to get involved is to register and make the Denim Day Promise. The Denim Day Promise sustains these four actions:
- To recognize that sexual violence is everyone’s issue.
- . Participate in the national conversation about rape and sexual violence with the hashtags #Gearup #DenimDay.
- To support survivors and not blame the victims.
- To engage in healthy and violence free relationships.
Sexual violence is everyone’s issue.
I have already registered to participate in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the women in my life who have experienced sexual assault. I will proudly participate, in not only denim pants but a denim shirt, because the case that triggered this campaign is still relevant to what women experience today. Almost two decades later, women are still taught that What they wear may cause them to attract sexual attention- so dress modestly, meekly, and don’t ever show more than necessary.
The Denim Day campaign is beautiful, because it is bigger than throwing on a pair of jeans, it is acknowledging the people who have been told they caused themselves to be raped.
If you want to help eliminate sexual violence in your community and show others what they can do to participate, you can order the Denim Day Toolkit for only $5.00. The Denim Day Toolkit supplies action plans on creating awareness and deconstructing rape culture. The best part about being aware is that you can create change just by spreading knowledge to others. If you are a part of any group or team that focuses on women’s issues, this toolkit can expand the understanding of sexual assault and why it is important to stand with victims and not against them.
There are also other opportunities like wearing a Denim Day button or donating to a local organization that helps sexual assault victims recover. All of these actions pave the way toward eliminating sexual assault. The Denim Day campaign is beautiful, because it is bigger than throwing on a pair of jeans, it is acknowledging the people who have been told they caused themselves to be raped.
Seventeen years ago, those Italian women who worked in Parliament had no idea that by wearing those denim jeans, they would shine such a bright light on what it means to be sexually assaulted. They also had no clue that after all that time, women would still be wearing their jeans in honor of those who have experienced it while society sat back and turned a blind eye. I hope that you’ll aim to do your part this April 27th and take full advantage of what it means to represent Denim Day.