Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's What Wednesday: Denim Day

As you may know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As you may or may not know, today is recognized as "Denim Day", a day for protesting the misconceptions surrounding sexualized violence. Denim Day is a national rape prevention education campaign that began in protest of a 1990 Italian rape case that was dismissed when the judge discovered that the 18 year old victim was wearing tight jeans. The judge determined that since the woman’s jeans were so tight that she had to assist the attacker (her 45 year old driving instructor) in removing them, it meant that the act was not rape but consensual sex. Women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work, and “Denim Day” was born.

Denim Day is recognized in various ways. I devoted a service project for my Women's Studies course work to organizing a local event, in which I asked local businesses to participate by allowing their employees to wear jeans to work, along with a teal awareness ribbon (the color assigned for Sexual Assault Awareness) in exchange for a minimum donation of $1. The intention was to use this day as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexualized violence, and to support a good cause. All of the proceeds from this local event will benefit the local women's center and shelter. 

I encourage my readers to seek out local Denim Day events, or to make your own social statement with your fashion statement by wearing jeans today. If you find, like I did, that there is no event in your area, and that your community is lacking in events such as this that raise awareness about this important issue that effects women everywhere, consider organizing your own! I'm already starting to plan for next year's event, so that I'll be able to solicit more participation from bigger businesses and draw more attention to the issue. While this year's event is a small one, I have been touched and inspired by the support of local businesses, some of which are matching their employees donations and encouraging their customers and guests to get involved. 

An important step in solving the problem of sexualized violence is understanding that it is never the victim's fault. It doesn't matter what she wears, where she goes, or how she behaves; no woman deserves to be sexually assaulted. No woman "asks for it". It is not the victims who are to blame, it is the perpetrators of these violent acts and the society that excuses them by pointing fingers elsewhere. 

If you aren't local or if your employer is not participating, please consider supporting 
Denim Day by making a donation using the button below. 
All proceeds will benefit New Horizon's Shelter and Women's Center.

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1 comment:

  1. Wearing denim today :)

    As the parent of a survivor of sexual assault (and a survivor myself) how could I not wear denim today?

    Thanks for raising the awareness on this topic!


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