I ran across an article today that talked about “Denim Day.” Having never heard of it I decided to do some research. Turns out Denim Day is a way to show support for victims of rape and sexual assault, bring awareness to the issue, and stop victim blaming.
The inspiration for this day of awareness comes from a crime that happened in Italy in the 1990s. A teenage girl is starting her very first driving lesson. She is picked up by her older, male instructor. He takes her out to an isolated area and rapes her. He then makes her drive home and swear not to tell anyone. Later that night she tells her parents. They help her to press charges and the instructor is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.
He appeals and it makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. There the case is overturned and dismissed. The judge’s reasoning is that, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
Women in the Italian parliament were outraged and almost immediately, within hours, protested by wearing jeans to work. From there the movement spread.
This is an amazing example of how people can be motivated to band together after an incredible injustice. People recognized how wrong it was to blame the victim. Unfortunately there are people who would have agreed with the statement made by the Chief Justice. Those people are still around today. They are the ones who say the survivor was raped because she had a plunging neckline, or her clothes were too tight, or she looked “loose,” or wiggled her hips too much when she walked, or because she was alone on a dark street, or she didn’t struggle enough, or scream loud enough, or didn’t tell anyone right away, or any other number of reasons. The victim blaming has to stop and I love the idea of wearing jeans to do it.
Turns out the next Denim Day is April 25th, this upcoming Wednesday. I for one plan on participating (though I almost always wear jeans, so I’ll have to be creative). I would love to hear from you about what you think of this awareness tactic, and if you participate what the experience is like for you.
The following website is done by Peace Over Violence and contains a lot more information. I encourage you to check it out.