Officials of Planned Parenthood are asking people to wear denim April 29 in protest of a 1999 Italian Supreme Court ruling that overturned a rape conviction because the victim was wearing jeans.
Denim Day is a rape prevention education campaign, where community members, elected officials, businesses and students are asked to make a social statement with their fashion statement and wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault.
Denim Day was established after an Italian Supreme Court ruling overturned a rape conviction because the woman was wearing jeans when she was raped. The court’s reasoning rested on the belief that it would have been impossible for the attacker to remove the jeans by himself, so the victim must have facilitated her own assault.
“It’s really hard to imagine this is a real case and that things like this do happen in rape cases,” said Sandra Esposito, Plattsburgh Planned Parenthood Sexual Assault Services Coordinator. “There are a lot of misconceptions about rape, that it’s about sex, it’s not. Rape is about power and control, not what you are wearing.”
As April is sexual assault awareness month the Plattsburgh Planned Parenthood felt it was the perfect time to hold fundraising and educational events like Rock Against Rape — held on April 6 — and Denim Day to bring awareness to sexual assault services available to members of the community.
How to Participate
Individuals and groups can declare April 29 Denim Day at their business or organization. If that day doesn’t work, employers are asked to choose one that does. Esposito said Denim Day is celebrated on different days in April for different groups.
“The 29th just worked for us but people don’t need to celebrate it on this specific day, the message is still the same no matter the day,” said Esposito
Anyone interested in participating can call the Sexual Assault Services. Planned Parenthood will provide posters to hang in offices to promote Denim Day and with a $5 suggested donation can provide Denim Day for anyone who would like to participate. The pins will encourage anyone who comes into contact with those wearing denim that they support victims of sexual violence.
To learn more about Denim Day, call Esposito at 561 – 0605 ext 125 or email Sandra.Esposito@ppncny.org.
Anyone seeking counseling services or for help coping with an assault can call the toll-free sexual assault hotline at 1-877-212-2323.