Take a stand against sexual violence on April 26, 2023
What is Denim Day?
Denim Day is an annual campaign held on the last Wednesday of April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It aims to raise awareness about harmful attitudes and myths surrounding sexual violence, such as victim-blaming and the misconception that clothing can indicate consent. The campaign was inspired by a 1998 ruling by the Italian Supreme Court, where a rape conviction was overturned because the victim was wearing tight jeans, which was interpreted as implied consent. Denim Day asks people to wear jeans as a visible means of protest against these destructive myths.
All proceeds benefit Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA). MESA is a not-for-profit program of Mental Health Partners and has served for over 50 years as the sexual violence resource center for Boulder County since 1972. MESA provides support and services to all survivors of sexual violence through prevention education programming, a 24-hour hotline and text line, accompanying survivors to hospitals for forensic evidence collection exams, referring survivors to our partners for trauma therapy, and guiding and supporting survivors through the legal process. All of MESA’s client services are offered in Spanish and English.
“We have accomplished so much in 50 years and there is still more good we can do. The need for community support is greater than ever,” said MESA’s Director, Dr. Janine D’Anniballe. “Denim Day is an opportunity to support MESA and ensure that we continue serving survivors and teaching the community about consent and healthy relationships.”
Learn more at denimdayinfo.org
The Story of Denim Day
The Denim Day story begins in Italy in 1992, when an 18-year old girl was raped by the 45-year old driving instructor who was taking her to her very first driving lesson. He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans and forcefully raped her.
She reports the rape and the perpetrator is arrested and prosecuted. He is then convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. Years later, he appealed the conviction claiming that they had consensual sex. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and the perpetrator was released. A statement from the Court argued that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was not rape but consensual sex. This became known throughout Italy as the “jeans alibi.”
Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament launched a protest wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. This protest was picked up by international media which inspired the California Senate and Assembly to do the same on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, saw this in the media and thought everyone should be wearing jeans to protest all of the myths about why women and girls are raped. Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA event was held in April of 1999, and has continued annually since.