The story behind the denim? Here it is as described by Denim Day in LA.
An 18-year old girl is picked up by her married 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.
He appeals the sentence. The case makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “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.”Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA was in April 1999, and has continued every year since.
The day is about rape prevention and education and taking a stand against sexual assault.
Here are some important and saddening statistics from the website.
Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 1,117 rapes during the year 2003, with only 260 rape suspects arrested.
82.8% of rapes committed by an intimate are not reported to the police.
35% of college men who voluntarily participated in psychological research conducted at several universities indicated they might commit a rape if they knew they could get away with it.
Two million children around the world are forced into prostitution every year.
Law enforcement arrests for internet sex crimes against minors are on the rise.
15,000 to 19,000 people with developmental disabilities are raped each year in North America.
Today Wednesday 4/27/11 is Denim Day. Women and men have been dressing in denim and attending rallies in support of this day.
Support male survivors as well!
To learn how to educate others and become more involved visit Denim Day LA
Here are resources offered by the website.
The Los Angeles Rape and Battering hotline is a confidential non-judgmental support service where staff and volunteers are available to provide emotional support, advocacy, information and referrals. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking, please call our 24 hour crisis line.
- 213-626-3393 (Central Los Angeles)
- 310-392-8381 (South Los Angeles)
- 626-793-3386 (West San Gabriel Valley)
- 877-633-0044 (Stalking Hotline)
If you are not from this region you can find help through dialing the national hotlines:
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)
- 800.656.HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
- 800.799.SAFE (7233)
- 800.787.3224 TDD