Denim Day 2015 is fast approaching and POV along with our fashion sponsor GUESS? are gearing up for April 29th, which is Denim Day in The U.S. and Canada. There is also a special edition Denim Day this year in May in Italy where the whole thing started back in 1998 with the Italian Supreme Court overturning a lower courts rape conviction because the teenage victim’s jeans were too tight. It provoked an outrage and the “tight jeans alibi” was debunked. When I saw the news coverage of the female Italian members of Parliament protesting by wearing jeans, I thought how we all should be wearing jeans on purpose to protest not only the myth of what she is wearing but all the myths and ignorant attitudes that blame the victim and exonerate the guilty. So now 16 years later with a little help (a lot actually) from our sole fashion sponsor GUESS? the Denim Day movement is spreading more rapidly then ever. GUESS? is behind this cause completely and are bringing education and information to their 120 stores in Canada, their 90 stores in Italy by dressing up their store window displays with the message that “there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape”….along with other messages such as Violence is Never In Style; Start Trends, End Violence & My Jeans Protest Violence. The special edition Denim Day in Italy is on May 29th (and yours truly will be there!). It is our and GUESS?’s intention to spread Denim Day throughout Europe and continue to grow globally and shine a light and raise awareness in this ever-increasing high profile violence prevention campaign!
Gearing up to wear jeans on purpose is one way of participating. There are many ways to engage post the actual day: becoming seriously educated on the topic, volunteering at sexual assault centers, donating to the crisis hotlines and the prevention programs so these messages and attitude changes can happen in high schools and on college campuses. Supporting survivors by listening and letting them know that they never “deserved to be violated “ no matter where they were, what they wore or how much they had to drink! Please join us in this movement to end sexual violence so that no child, no teenager, no college student, no woman or man (yes it happens to men and boys also—go to www.1in6.org for more info) or trans-gendered person or a person with disabilities (extremely vulnerable to these crimes) will be violated and traumatized. In Los Angeles we are having a rally for denim Day in LA with the wonderfully talented Aloe Blacc & Maya Jupiter –our spokes-couple performing. There are Denim Days all over the country and beyond: Denim Day in NYC, Denim Day California on the capitol steps in Sacramento, Denim Day at Emory University and the University of Arizona and so many campuses, at the US Naval Bases and other military installations and the list goes on. Last year there was participation in over 110 countries. The message that “there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape” is spreading. This taboo subject which has and continues to do great harm is finally coming out of the shadow. By endorsing and registering your organization or business or even yourself…you are helping to build a movement. Together we can make a difference in the lives of survivors and we can build a future without sexual violence. Believe this! Join with us! Let’s stick together and make a collective difference in the world. Talking about sexual violence and rape should no longer be a taboo subject….let’s end that stigma, let’s put an end to the shame and make the acts of sexual violence and rape the real taboo!
Founder, Denim Day in LA & USA campaign
Executive Director of Peace Over Violence