Today, Wednesday, April 24, is the 20th annual Denim Day and people are being encouraged to wear denim to show support for survivors of sexual assault, raise awareness about the scourge of sexual assault and the problem of victim-blaming.
Events will be held at universities, private and public institutions across the country. As part of the celebration of Denim Day, jeans will also be hung from light posts in many parts of the nation.
This year’s celebration of Denim Day is highlighted by the recent #MeToo movement in which several prominent women spoke up about being sexually harassed.
KTVN reports that Nevada lawmakers will officially acknowledge this year’s Denim Day during today’s session of the legislature.
City officials in Milwaukee will also host their eighth Denim Day. Mayor Tom Barrett, Rep. Gwen Moore and city health advocates will hold a news conference at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, according to Journal Sentinel.
Yesterday, Staten Island officials and members of the community attended an event at Borough Hall to show solidarity with victims of sexual assault.
What is the origin of Denim Day?
Denim Day is a day to wear denim in support of survivors of sexual abuse, and dates back to a rape case that the Supreme Court in Italy heard in 1998.
In the case, a 45-year-old driving instructor was convicted of raping an 18-year-old Italian woman in 1992, but the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction after deciding that the sex must have been consensual because the victim wore jeans that were so tight that she must have helped the rapist to remove them.
According to the decision by the Italian Supreme Court, “It is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.”
The court’s decision infuriated many women and several female members of the Italian Parliament wore jeans the next day to show solidarity with the victim and to protest the decision.
Denim Day was first observed in the U.S in 1999 as a day to promote awareness about sexual assault and related issues.
Denims first became known in the 1870s. The word jeans is derived from the name of the Italian city of Genoa where the fabric was first made. Even in those early days jeans fabric was dyed blue and was called blue de Genes. The dye was derived from a pigment extracted from an Indian plant.