What does National Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month have in common?

Jeff Riddle, TWC CRD Trainer

This year, National Denim Day is observed on April 28, 2021. What is Denim Day you ask? For those that do not know and would like to learn something, or even to those who want to use it as an excuse to wear jeans to work one day, let me enlighten you.

The events surrounding what would become Denim Day began in Italy in 1992. An 18-year-old female was picked up by her driving instructor, but instead of driving lessons, he took her to a remote location, forced her out of the car, and raped her.

Later that evening she confided in her parents and they went to the police. The man was arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of rape.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. A few years later his appeal reaches the Italian supreme court and
in a shocking turn of events, the conviction is overturned, and the man is released.

Well, maybe not that shocking considering the times this event took place and the all-male panel of judges that made the decision.

So, what made the court repeal the decision?

They stated in their argument that the girl was wearing tight jeans that could only have been removed with her help, so since they were tight and needed help to be removed it could not have been rape but instead consensual sex.

The outrage that followed was immediate. The women in the Italian Parliament protested the courts’ decision
by wearing jeans on the steps of the court.

Soon that same act would travel across the world and spring up in California. According to the National Denim Day page, “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.” (denimdayinfo.org)

Denim Day is a way to dispel the myths surrounding sexual assault and violence.

The clothes a person wears, the way they may walk or talk, or even the way they act, are not justifications for sexual assault or violence.

So, even if you use this day as an excuse to wear your favorite pair of jeans to work, you should still recognize the reasoning behind it. That simple request, to wear jeans on April 28th, now spreads awareness over the issues of sexual assault.

Source: Texas Workforce Commission

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