In 1992, an 18-year-old girl was raped by the 45-year-old driving instructor who was taking her to her very first driving lesson in Rome, Italy. He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans, and forcefully raped her. She reported the rape and the perpetrator was arrested. He was prosecuted, convicted of rape, and sentenced to jail.
He appealed the sentence, claiming that the victim’s jeans were so tight he could not possibly have taken them off – that she would have had to remove her jeans – and, therefore, the sex was consensual. The appeal made it all the way to the Italian High Court where the conviction was overturned and he was released.
Enraged by the appeal verdict women of the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protests.
Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim-blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement.
As the longest-running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses, and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.
Join us in wearing denim this April 27th to show your support.