Have you ever heard of the “jeans alibi” the Italian Supreme Court ruling that set the stage for a worldwide movement call Denim Day?
In 1992 an 18-year-old girl reported being raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor during her first driving lesson. The assailant was initially convicted of raping the victim and was sentenced to jail. But years later, the perpetrator appealed his conviction, claiming that the sexual acts should not considered to be rape, but were actually consensual sex. The Italian Supreme Court agreed with arguments that, due to the victim’s tight jeans, she must have helped him remove her jeans, making it a consensual act instead of rape. It became known as the “jeans alibi.”
The decision infuriated women in the Italian Parliament, who protested by wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. Their demonstration was the beginning of a worldwide movement.
In 1999, Peace Over Violence took this powerful story further and encouraged people to wear jeans at least one day during Sexual Violence Awareness Month. Since 1999, this has become known as Denim Day, which just happens to be today!! Denim Day is a reminder that consent is necessary for any and all sexual activity.
Consent is mandatory
During any sexual encounter, consent is ALWAYS necessary! There should be both a verbal and physical agreement between partners before initiating any sexual activity. This means that, along with saying “yes”, partners should also pay attention to each other’s mental and physical state. For example, if someone has been consuming alcohol or drugs, they are not in the right state of mind to properly give consent. It is also important to check in with your partner during sexual acts, just in case they are feeling uncomfortable or want to stop. Someone can change their mind at any time and that is ok! If your partner changes their mind, respect what they are sharing with you! And if you change your mind, speak up and let your partner know! Whether you’re married, in a relationship, or first-time partners, consent is always required!
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:
- The Domestic Violence Hotline
- Love is Respect
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
- California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- Know Your IX
- Today, April 24th, is Denim Day so wear jeans!
- Spread awareness about Denim Day and sexual assault by sharing with your peer why you are wearing jeans today.
- Ask your teachers if you can share some information about Denim Day, consent, and sexual violence.
- Spread awareness online by using #DenimDay