TRIGGER WARNING: Rape is mentioned in this post.
If you didn't know, April 26th of every year is Denim Day.
Denim Day began in 1999 in Los Angeles County, spreading throughout California, then across the United States, and is now a global event.
How Denim Day came about is a tragic--yet horrifyingly familiar--story. It begins in Italy in 1992, when an 18-year old girl was raped by her 45-year old driving instructor on her very first lesson. He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, forcibly removed her jeans, and proceeded to rape her.
She reported the rape. He was arrested and prosecuted. Years later, he appealed the conviction with the claim that the sex was consensual. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and the rapist was released--their reason was that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, their (faulty) logic deduced she had to help him remove them, and thus, the sex was consensual. This infamously became known throughout Italy as the "jeans alibi".
The women of the Italian Parliament were FURIOUS. They launched a protest wearing jeans on the steps of the supreme court, and this protest was picked up by international media. Thus, Denim Day was born.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE AND NEVER AN INVITATION TO RAPE. All too often, we victims are blamed for being raped, sexually assaulted, harassed, catcalled...because of what we wear, how we do our makeup and hair, AND SOMETIMES EVEN OUR GENETIC MAKEUP THAT WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER, we are constantly being told we were asking for it. And even if we go to the police, we are shamed and blamed, and endure emotional violation and abuse all over again (which is why so many assaults go unreported).
It doesn't matter if our jeans are tight. It doesn't matter if our skirts are short. It doesn't even matter if a boob is out. Unless we literally ask for it, we. are. not. asking. for. it.
The stats gathered from those who did go to the police or opt to answer a survey are already sickening:
- 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. (CDC)
- In 8 out of 10 cases, the victim knows the person who sexually assaults them. (US DOJ)
- 1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before the age of 18. (CDC)
- 1 in 3 women worldwide experience sexual and domestic violence in their lifetime. (WHO)
- Out of every 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. (DOJ)
- 1 in 5 LA Metro riders and 1 in 3 women at work report having been sexually harassed, and street harassment is experienced by 87% of women in urban areas. (POV)
Peace Over Violence's partnership with GUESS for Denim Day is 4 years strong and I couldn't be prouder. This isn't a paid post, this isn't an advertisement--this is a genuine post about a brand I admire doing its part to make a social change.
GUESS's highly influential reach amongst consumers and celebrities/influencers alike has made Denim Day and the overall education on sexual violence and consent (!!!very important!!!) an attainable goal the world over.
Get the conversation started at home and with friends, learn more about sexual violence prevention here and here, and let's work together to make this world a little bit safer for us all.