TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains information about sexual assault that may be triggering to survivors. Trigger warnings are just what it sounds like. They are designed to warn someone about the content they are about to view/read to prevent a “trigger” or “being triggered” from a previous emotional or traumatic event.
For 18 years, Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Some may recognize the movement and support it without truly knowing the powerful story behind this message.
So where did Denim Day come from?
An 18-year old girl was taken to an isolated back road, where she raped by her 45-year old driving instructor. The details of this crime were disturbing, but the most disturbing detail wouldn’t come out until the trial. After the driving instructor was convicted and sentenced to jail for rape, he quickly appealed. The case made it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court and within a matter of days was overturned, dismissed, and the attacker was released.
In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “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 women in the Italian Parliament were enraged by the verdict, and acted immediately, protesting by wearing jeans to work. Word traveled and Denim Day was born in 1999 and has continued ever since.
Stand up against Sexual Violence, know the story, and support the movement by wearing jeans on Wednesday April 26th, 2017 and telling the story behind Denim Day.
Other ways you can stand up against sexual violence are:
- Visit It's On Us to take the pledge to keep all people safe from sexual assault
- Make a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution
- Recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault
- Identify situations in which sexual assault may occur
- Intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given
- Create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported
If you or someone you know have experienced sexual violence and need help, you can visit the following resources: