“There is no excuse and never an invitation to rape.”
According to RAINN, the rape, abuse and incest national network website, there is an average of 293,066 victims ages 12 or older of rape and sexual assault each year.
It has been observed that summer has the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, while winter and fall the lowest.
Although RAINN reports sexual assault has fallen by 49% in recent years, there is still much progress to be made as an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes.
April is National Sexual Violence Awareness Month. In honor of this, Denim Day was created.
Denim Day is a project created by Peace Over Violence, which is a prevention center established by feminist activists “dedicated to building heathy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence,” according to the Peace Over Violence website.
The campaign came about after an 18-year-old girl was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor in Italy in the 90s. The perpetrator was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. The man appealed the sentence, driving the case to the Italian Supreme court. Unfortunately, the case against the driving instructor was overturned and the perpetrator was released. The justice felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consensual sex.
The next day, the enraged women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. This action reached the states and motivated the California Senate and Assembly to also protest by wearing jeans to work.
The news eventually spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence in L.A, and Denim Day was born.
Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against “erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault,” according to Denim Day’s official website. In this rape prevention education campaign, community members, elected officials, and businesses and students are asked to make a social statement with their fashion as “a visible means of protests against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.”
The campaign is always held on a Wednesday in April, so grab your favorite pair of jeans and use hashtags #DENIMDAY AND #GEARUP to connect with others via social media to end sexual violence.
Image via Lily Beck