Today marks Denim Day - a visible protest that stands in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence and raises awareness about the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. It is a reminder that your appearance and the clothes you wear is never an invitation for consent!
What is Denim Day?
In 1992, a 18-year old girl reported being raped by her 45-year old driving instructor, and was initially convicted and sentenced to jail. The driving instructor appealed the sentence, claiming it was consensual sex. The Italian Supreme agreed and the perpetrator was released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued 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.”
The outrageous decision sparked international outrage. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. In 1999, Peace Over Violence developed the first Denim Day campaign in Los Angeles in response to the case to protest against destructive attitudes about sexual assault.
Consent is necessary before, during, and after any sexual encounter.
During any sexual encounter, consent is ALWAYS necessary! Consent is a voluntary agreement between two people. A person is giving full consent/is consenting when they freely and actively agree to do something sexual with someone else, and has the right to change their mind at any point. When engaging in sexual acts, it is also important to pay attention to your partner’s mental and physical state. For example, if you or your partner consume alcohol or drugs, then you or your partner are incapable of giving full consent. Remember - it’s ALWAYS okay for you to speak up and change your mind during a sexual encounter, whether you’re in a relationship or with first-time partners.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence including sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or rape, please visit the following resources: