Denim Day

Alexandra Stassinopoulos, Writer

In 1992, an eighteen year old girl was picked up for her first driving lesson by her forty-five year old, married instructor. Her driving teacher raped her and told the young woman that if she told anyone, he would kill her. The girl and her parents pressed charges and the driving instructor was convicted. When the case went to the Italian Supreme Court, it was promptly overturned, citing the “denim defense.” Since the young woman had been wearing ”very, very tight jeans,” the Chief Judge decided that “she had to help him remove them…and by removing the jeans…it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

The court’s decision triggered immediate backlash throughout Italy; to show their support for the victim, the female members of the Italian Parliament responded by wearing jeans to work the day after the ruling. Inspired by the solidarity this protest showed, Patricia Giggans, the executive director of Peace Over Violence, created Denim Day.

An annual Peace Over Violence event, Denim Day shows support for rape victims and advocates a “No Excuses” approach to rape that deplores victim-blaming and instead demands that rapists take responsibility for their crimes. The sixteenth Denim Day took place on April 29, 2015 and had over 7,664,443 registered participants from around the world.

This year, Dublin High also participated in Denim Day. Although the event was new to most DHS students, it is estimated that over half of the school wore jeans in support for sexual assault victims.The trend will continue next year as Dublin recognizes Denim Day for the second time next April!