Written by SASC Volunteer Amy Higgins
What’s Denim Day, you ask? Good question. First, a little history (content warning for sexual assault):
In Rome, back in 1992, a 45-year-old driving instructor sexually assaulted an 18-year-old student, telling her that if she told anyone, he would kill her. The survivor pressed charges. Ultimately, the case made it to the Italian Supreme Court, which overturned the conviction because … wait for it … the survivor was wearing jeans. In the Court’s own words, “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 … 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.”
… It doesn’t make sense to us either.
Outraged? You’re not alone. The day after the case was decided, women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans in protest of the decision. Pretty soon, they were joined by people all around the world. Denim Day has become an annual event in support of survivors. This year, you too, can show support for survivors by wearing jeans on January 17! (Or your favourite denim jacket … or denim skirt … or denim vest … you get the picture.)
Spread the word by wearing a Denim Day sticker — you can pick one up at the Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, the Sexual Assault Support Centre (third floor of the Nest!), the Wellness Centre, or at the SASC’s Clubs Day booth in the Nest.
Denim Day is just one of many Sexual Assault Awareness Month events. From hockey games to short films to storytelling, there’s something for everyone! For more information, visit students.ubc.ca/saam. And join the conversation using #saamUBC.
Happy Denim Day, everyone!