If you have any jeans in your closet—and care about rape and sexual assault—today is the day to put them on, in support of global #DenimDay. “Wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors and educate yourself and others about sexual assault,” says the Denim Day website, where more than 5 million people have registered to participate in this year’s events, spread the world and donate funds to support education around sexual violence.
The movement was organized by Peace Over Violence following a 1992 incident in which an 18-year-old girl in Italy was raped. Although the perpetrator was convicted and sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction six years later.
The winning argument had it that because the victim wore very tight jeans, she had to have helped the accused rapist remove them, which meant this became a case of consensual sex rather than rape.
The ruling ignited global protest, including women in the Italian Parliament wearing jeans and holding placards that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” In 2008, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the findings, eliminating the “denim” defense for rape.
“I am amazed to report that last year individuals in all 50 states and in 120 foreign countries registered their participation in the campaign,” says Patricia Giggans, who launched Denim Day via Peace Over Violence. “And we saw the addition of our first ever Official Fashion Sponsor, GUESS? Inc., increasing our reach and impact with the campaign exponentially.”
— GUESS (@GUESS) April 29, 2015
This year, in addition to GUESS, which is inviting supporters to upload photos wearing their brand for a frame to use on social media, other brands sponsoring the event include Artivist Entertainment, Union Bank, Signal Brands, COTY, CG Mobile, Sequel, Marc Fisher Footware and Marcolin.