Denim Day has been internationally celebrated since 1999, in protest of an Italian High Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The Court argued that the victim must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. Enraged by this verdict,
women of the Italian Legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans to work.
On this day, wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors, and educate yourself and others about sexual assault. Share your photos on YWCA Enid’s social media pages using #DenimDay.
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 helped 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.” 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.”