Wear denim with a purpose in April

NDSU encourages its community to celebrate Denim Day in support of survivors of sexual violence

Denim Day on Campus

Denim Day is known as the “longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history” and occurs on a Wed. in April in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Community members, elected officials, businesses and students are asked to support this movement by wearing jeans on this day as a “visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual violence.”

This year, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Advocacy and the Violence Prevention Educators encourage its NDSU community to celebrate Denim Day on Wed. April 28, 2021.

Students and faculty can also support the movement by submitting a 20-30 second video to explain why they wear denim. The Violence Prevention Educators will post the videos on their Instagram page (@NDSUVPEs) to encourage others to wear denim and support survivors.

Videos can be submitted through VPEs DM on Instagram or email megan.talcott@ndsu.edu to participate.

History of Denim Day

In 1998, an 18-year-old girl meets up with her 47-year-old driving instructor for her first lesson. Things quickly take a dark turn as he instructs her to drive to a private road where he forces her to the ground, rips her out of her jeans, and rapes her.

To keep her quiet, he makes death threats and makes her drive the car home. However, the girl immediately tells her parents as she returns and the family presses charges.

The man is arrested and convicted of rape, but he appeals his sentence and the case makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. From there, the case is overturned, dismissed and the perpetrator is released because the victim wore “tight jeans.”

“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 Chief Judge argued.

This enraged women in the Italian Parliament and encouraged them to protest by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated the California Senate and Assembly to follow in their footsteps.

People around the globe became outraged. As a result, wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against illogical and “destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault” according to the University of Wisconsin

For more information on the case, visit The New York Times’ coverage.

Peace Over Violence (POV)

POV is a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles led by Patti Giggans. The organization arranged the U.S’s first Denim Day event in 1999 and has since grown into a national movement.

In 2019, an estimated 10,679,597 people wore jeans with a purpose on Denim Day according to the official Denim Day website.

“POV has run an inspiring and powerful opportunity to practice solidarity and support survivors by renewing our commitment to exposing harmful behaviors and attitudes surrounding sexual violence,” denimdayinfo.org stated.

Other ways to show support

Denim Day’s official website lists numerous ways to support survivors beyond wearing denim.

The organization provides “action kits” where people can choose the tools, resources and materials they need to bring Denim Day to their communities. Merchandise such as buttons, t-shirts, posters, etc. can be purchased and worn to show support for the organization and survivors.

Dollars for Denim is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign where individuals can collect donations for POV by asking colleagues, friends, family, classmates and other community members to contribute.

If starting an individual fundraiser doesn’t spark interest, people can donate to support rape prevention education and services for survivors by scrolling to the bottom of the “Get Involved” tab and hitting “Donate.”

For more information about the organization and how to get involved visit denimdayinfo.org.

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