What is Denim Day?
At National Today, we do not tolerate victim-blaming and this is why, on Denim Day on April 28, we stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors and victims. Celebrated every year on the last Wednesday of April, Denim Day started as a campaign against sexual assault apologists. In the summer of 1998 in Italy, an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor. One year later, the perpetrator was released after the court overturned his sentence. He appealed that the girl had had ‘consensual’ sex with him because she was wearing tight jeans that could have only been taken off with her help. The next day, Italian women showed up in jeans to their workplaces as a way to protest the absurdity of the overturned sentence. Sexual assault is traumatizing. It is difficult to discuss and, as a result of this, sexual assault perpetrators often walk away Scott-free. Moreover, the survivors and victims are more often than not blamed for the incident. Such attitudes have also led to lax laws that do not help the survivors and the victims much. Denim Day, thus, aims to rid the world of such attitudes and laws to bring about real justice and support to the ones who deserve it.
History of Denim Day
Denim Day was first celebrated in 1999 when an Italian court granted the appeal of a rapist and overturned his sentence. Sparking worldwide outrage and protests, Italian women showed up to work wearing denim jeans and other clothing articles. The Californian Senate and Assembly also supported their fellow human beings and, in a show of respect, American women stepped into the Parliament also sporting jeans. Patricia Giggans, who is an American feminist and the executive director of LA’s Commission on Assaults Against Women (now known as Peace Over Violence), was inspired by these events and named the last Wednesday of every April as Denim Day.