We all have that favorite pair of jeans.
For me, they’re the raggedy pair of old skinny jeans that have holes in the knees and match my worn t-shirts perfectly. Outfits and fashion can be a fun way to let the world know a little bit about who I am and what I like, but what I wear can also make a very loud statement.
You may know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but did you know that April 27th is a day dedicated to wearing your favorite denim for this exact cause? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I invite you to read below to learn about how this day began and what it means to us as freedom fighters today.
April 1998 – Italy
An 18 year-old girl rides off with her driving instructor and is raped by the 45 year-old man. She is then forced to drive back to the facility with her offender, where she sits through a classroom lesson. Later that evening, she musters the courage to tell her parents about the incident, who support her decision to press charges.
The court charges her offender with indecent exposure in public, but she appeals the case. Her offender is convicted on all charges, but the appeals court tosses their decision and reviews the case again, coming to a new verdict – innocent. The chief judge of the case stated “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.” Her offender was sent home free within several days.
The next day, outraged at the court’s ruling, female parliament members wore jeans to work. This sparked a movement in California, where Peace Over Violence created the Denim Day campaign.
On April 27th, we wear denim to show our support for victims of sexual assault and to provide awareness about the issue in order to boost prevention efforts.
Today, Denim Day stands for justice against sexual assault, stating that there is never an excuse – rape is not okay. It doesn’t matter if the victim was wearing tight jeans, if they were drinking too much, or if they were flirting with their offender before the aggression began.
This Denim Day, I encourage you to take a stand against sexual assault and don your favorite pair of jeans. Let your friends, coworkers, and family members see you make a statement beyond fashion. Let them see zero tolerance for sexual assault and help break societal norms that make people think “she was asking for it”.
Not only will you create awareness, but your bold stance on this issue may be seen as a safe place. Be prepared to be a good listener if a friend confides in you of an assault against them. Do not point fingers, ask unwanted questions, or stare in shock. Instead, be an empathetic listener.
Do your part to stop sexual assault – wear jeans this Denim Day, April 27th.
Laura Loftin – Beautiful Dream Society Intern
Denim Day: http://denimdayinfo.org/about/
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition: http://www.dvsac.org/denim-day/