The other day I was guest-hosting on Black Hollywood Live's: This Week discussing the hot topics of the week. Some of the topics were in regards to the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, Beverly Johnson and her experience, sexual assault allegations and women supporting women. This made me think of Denim Day. However, on the spot I feel my broad overview did not do justice to the significance behind it. In addition, I was a bit shocked that some people still do not know of the day nor its origins so I decided to do a follow up.
I'd like for you to imagine you are teenager girl and you are finally able to get your license. You make an appointment to begin your driving training. On the day of your first lesson, your driving instructor arrives and you get in the driver's seat. Your driving lesson has officially began. The instructor gives you directions as you go, turn left up ahead, turn right....
Now in a desolate place, you are instructed to pull over. It is here that your driving instructor threatens you, forces you to the ground and rapes you for an hour. You are told that if you speak a word of what happened, he will kill you and your family-- afterall, he did pick you up from your home. The driving instructor then returns you home.
That night you tell your parents what occurred and in full support, they help you to proceed with legal action. The rapist driving instructor is convicted and sentenced....
Now you are probably wondering how that turned into Denim Day, I mean it seems like a favorable outcome right? Wrong.
The rapist appealed the conviction to the Italian Supreme Court. His arguement was that the teenage girl wore very very tight jeans and he could not have taken them off by himself and that she helped him to remove them. The Italian Supreme Court overturned his conviction because based on his arguement, it would not have been rape but consensual sex.
People were outraged and rallied together in solidarity. According to Wikipedia "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 on April 23. Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault."
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) presented the following statistics about rape:
--> According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)--there is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.
--> 1 sexual assault happens every 133 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.
I urge you to look into ways that you can participate in taking a stand against sexual violence. There are many ways that you can participate, starting with wearing jeans in support. This year Demin Day will be on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. You can also get your orginaztion involved and host events to spread the word and show further support. You never know whoneeds it but as unfortunate as it is, you know someone does. By the time you have completed reading this post, 1-2 people have been sexually assaulted.
Below I have included a few links where you can find out more about Demin Day and how you can get involved:
PEACE OVER VIOLENCE
DENIM DAY NYC
DENIM DAY ON FACEBOOK