Why we wear denim on April 26th

April 26th, 2017 is Denim Day – a key date in Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Everyone at Fort Bend Women’s Center will have their jeans on; we’ve asked our supporters to put their jeans on; even the mannequins in Fort Bend Women’s Center PennyWise Resale Stores will have their jeans on.

Why?

Denim Day was founded in 1999. It was inspired by a court case in Italy. An 18-year-old girl was raped by her driving instructor. He was arrested and ultimately convicted. However, he appealed and ultimately his case was sent to the Italian Supreme Court.

There, the case was overturned, dismissed and the driving instructor was released from prison. The Chief Judge attributed the decision to the fact that the teenager was wearing very tight jeans. She must therefore have helped her attacker to remove her jeans, making the sex consensual.

As a protest, the women in the Italian Parliament wore their jeans to work. You can read more about the case and the protest in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/16/world/ruling-on-tight-jeans-and-rape-sets-off-anger-in-italy.html

As news of their protest spread, the idea for Denim Day was born.

Since then, wearing denim in April has become a demonstration of support for survivors of sexual assault. It is a way of expressing our belief that a victim of sexual assault is not responsible for their attack, regardless of what they wear or how they behave.

It is a way of starting conversations about what consent means and the need to be absolutely clear about it being given.

Denim Day has also become a way of raising much needed funds with individuals and organizations donating to sexual assault programs like the one provided by Fort Bend Women’s Center.

So, please join us. Put your jeans on and stand with survivors of sexual assault.