Denim Day

Denim Day is a campaign to spread awareness and educate people about sexual violence.It is an annual event with food, games/activities, and learning opportunities. Our goal is to engage with the community in a way that is both fulfilling and educational. Denim Day always happens in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Denim Day is a call to action: we ask people to wear denim as a visible sign of protest against sexual violence and to come together as a community.

 

Why we wear denim:

History of Denim Day

In Rome in 1992, a 45-year-old driving instructor was accused of rape. When he picked up an 18-year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he allegedly raped her for an hour, then told her that if she was to tell anyone he would kill her. Later that night she told her parents and her parents agreed to help her press charges. While the alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. It was argued that she must have had to help her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual (“because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them…and by removing the jeans…it was no longer rape but consensual sex”). The Italian Supreme Court stated in its decision “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.”[1] As of 2008 the Italian Supreme Court has overturned their findings, and there is no longer a “denim” defense to the charge of rape.

Reaction

This ruling sparked widespread protest. The day after the decision, women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans and holding placards that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” As a sign of support, the California Senate and Assembly followed suit. Soon Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, (Now Peace Over Violence) made Denim Day an annual event. As of 2011 at least 20 U.S. states officially recognize Denim Day.

For more information about Denim Day visit DenimDayUSA.org

We would like all PSU staff and faculty to wear denim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 to participate in this important annual event. By filling out the Google Form, you can take the pledge, as an individual staff or faculty or as a department, to participate. For those who take a pledge we will send out a packet of information about Denim Day, a week in advance, complete with “Ask Me Why I’m Wearing Denim” buttons and a concise elevator pitch to help you easily answer that question.

Students are encouraged to wear denim and to visit us in the Park Blocks between 9am-3pm on April 24, 2019. Come participate in day-of-action activities, enjoy free food and drinks, enter our raffle, and pick up their your “Ask Me Why I’m Wearing Denim” button.