Today is Denim Day. Sounds simple enough, right? A day of appreciation for denim should be easy for any fashion lover, as denim is universally loved and is one of the most worn fabrics in the world. But denim’s importance today is symbolic.
It serves as a symbol of appreciation one has for the value and sanctity of their own body and the bodies of their fellow men and women. It is a symbol of appreciation for the freedom to wear what one chooses to wear, and not having to fear for his or her safety as a consequence of that choice. And finally, it is a symbol for supporting those who have been victimized by sexual violence. Today we wear denim to give voice to those who have been silenced by their trauma. And we also shout in unison with those who are empowered to demand change in the ways we address and deal with rape culture.
Peace Over Violence is the organization that created the Denim Day campaign, and Denim Day has been observed for the past fifteen years. April is Sexual Violence Awareness Month and Denim Day has always taken place on a Wednesday in April, and this year that Wednesday is today – April 23, 2014.
The ruling that started the campaign and the activism surrounding it took place in Italy. It was a rape conviction that was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court, and the ruling stated that the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault. Therefore, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, and the judges argued that this means she consented. The ruling caused an outrage among female members of the Italian Parliament and the next day, to show their support of the victim, these women showed up to work wearing jeans. This tradition continues on until today with Denim Day.
The iconic denim brand Guess and its Guess Foundation allied with Peace Over Violence to promote Denim Day this year through all of its brands, Guess, G by Guess, and Guess Factory. Using its over 400 North American stores and various marketing outlets (such as social media) as platforms, Guess has helped get the message of Denim Day across. Guess has invited people to join the movement to raise awareness, show support for survivors, and end sexual violence. Guess has also contributed $100,000 in support of the Denim Day campaign and the official Denim Day press conference was held today at the Guess Official Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles.
Today on Denim Day, wearing jeans is symbolic of your voice in the fight against sexual violence. It is a call to action to raise awareness in our communities about responsibility and respect among adults and to be relentless in the educating of our children to become loving and non-violent people.