YWCA Haverhill encourages everyone to participate in ‘Denim Day’ to help raise awareness of sexual assault and sexual violence. (WHAV file photograph)
As previously reported by WHAV, April is sexual assault awareness month. To continue to raise awareness about this crime, the Haverhill YWCA is asking everyone to wear denim on April 25.
Denim Day was sparked by a 1998 decision by an Italian Supreme Court judge to overturn a 1992 rape conviction on the grounds that since the woman was wearing tight jeans, she must have been complicit in the rape.
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” and that “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 following day, women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans and held signs that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” In support, the California Senate followed suit and denim day soon became an annual event.
The “denim defense,” as it became to be known is no longer allowed, but wearing jeans on April 25 has become an international symbol of protest against attitudes that perpetuate sexual assault.
The Y encourages everyone to show their support by posting a picture of themselves wearing denim with the hashtag #ywcanortheasternmassachusetts or #ywcanema.