Denim Day: Why Wearing Jeans Protests Sexual Violence

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Throughout this month content related to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, violence prevention, advocacy for victims and survivors, and education for the community will be posted.

 

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Black and White Photo of a person wearing jeans with text that reads

 

Have you noticed that a lot of people are wearing jeans today? No, it’s not your imagination or a coincidence, it’s actually a global movement protesting sexual violence. Since 1999, April 28th has been held as Denim Day, a day of action, awareness, and education aimed at ending sexual violence. Denim Day started after a ruling in the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction due to sitting justices determining that an 18-year old victim of rape must have given consent by assisting her perpetrator in removing the jeans she was wearing. Justices felt that since her jeans were very tight, the victim had to have helped her perpetrator take them off, which they believed implied that the act was consensual and not a crime. This went on to be known as the “denim defense” or “jeans alibi”1. The day after the rape conviction was overturned, women serving in the Italian Parliment collectively wore jeans to work to protest the verdict and show support for the victim. This garnered international attention, spreading to the Capitol of California, where Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, organized the first Denim Day LA event in 1999 to continue the protest and stop the perpetutation of harmful myths that perpetuate sexual violence. 

Black and White Photo of a person wearing jeans with text that reads

Since that first Denim Day event in LA in April, 1999, Denim Day events have spread far and wide to protest sexual violence, provide prevention education, and show support to all survivors of violence. Many college campuses hold events on this day to raise awareness in their own communities. You can join the movement this year by breaking out your denim ensemble, and learning about ways we can come together to break the cycle of violence and create a world where victims are no longer blamed, and perpetrators of violence are held accountable for their actions. Together, we can all do our part to end sexual violence. 

 

More About Denim Day:

Why Denim?

 

Violence Prevention Education:

15 Ways to End Rape Culture

Common Misconceptions about Sexual Assault

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence

 

National Resources:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center