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 denimdayinfo.org on how you can fight to stop rape.