What is Denim Day?

What is Denim Day?

by Ejin Jeong


ROME, 1992: An 18-year-old girl went to her first driving lesson and was raped for an hour by her 45-year-old driving instructor. Afterwards, she was told that if she told anyone she would be murdered. In 1998 the driving instructor was convicted and sentenced, but the conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court due to her tight jeans. They had concluded that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, therefore providing consent. 

This resulted in widespread protest, and in the following day the women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans. In 2008, the Italian Supreme Court later overturned their previous decision.

Since this event, in April 1999, Los Angeles, Peace over Violence has turned Denim Day into a campaign to protest against and raise awareness for sexual assault. On a Wednesday in April, thousands of people, men, women, students, and businesses will wear jeans to make a social statement to protest sexual assault. In 2015, the GUESS? Foundation brought the Denim Day campaign to Canada and Italy as well. 

Denim Day not only symbolizes protest against sexual assault, but it also serves to empower victims of rape by justifying that rape is never “asked for."  No type of clothing should or will ever serve as an invitation for rape. Consent can never be assumed or implied – it is only directly stated. A woman is never asking to be raped. Provocative clothing or behavior play no factor in sexual assault. The only factor in sexual assault in the rapist himself. This year, Denim Day is April 27th. Anyone can make their statement against the misconceptions of sexual assault by wearing jeans. 

You can implement a Denim Day at your school and utilize the occasion to educate your fellow community and peers about sexual assault or to host a fundraiser. By working towards growing Denim Day as a larger, more national tradition, we can battle sexual assault and the rape culture that has been growing in society. Below are the 15 ways from on how you can fight to stop rape.


1. Recognize that people neither ask for nor deserve to be raped—ever. 


2. Donate your time as a volunteer to your local rape crisis organization. 


3. Donate money to your local rape crisis organization. 


4. Don’t blame rape survivors for the violence perpetrated against them. 


5. Speak up when someone makes a comment that blames survivors. 


6. Know that silence does not equal consent. 


7. Think critically about how the media depicts sexuality. 


8. Don’t use alcohol and/or drugs to get someone to have sex with you. 


9. Know the definition of consent and do not have sex without consent. 


10. Become a sexual violence prevention ally—do not participate in sexist behavior. 


11. Take a self-defense class. Your best defense is yourself -- your wit, your voice, your body. 


12. Teach your children, friends, parents and peers about the myths and realities of sexual assault. 


13. Find out what your local K-12 school board’s policy is on anti-rape and violence prevention education and get involved. If it is not proactive, change it! 


14. Lobby your local, state and federal legislators for funding for anti-sexual assault programs. 


15. If you have been a victim of sexual assault either by a stranger, acquaintance or an intimate, know there is help out there. Seek it.

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