The issue moved into the public spotlight in 1998, when the third division of the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome released the text of a November ruling that overturned a 34-month sentence for rape in southern Italy.
Millions of people across the world will wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors, and educate themselves and others about all forms of sexual violence.
The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court in 1998 where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim and holding placards that read "Jeans: An Alibi for Rape". Alessandra Mussolini, a conservative member of Parliament and the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, along with female lawmakers from other political parties, donned jeans and held a protest inside Parliament.
As a sign of support, the California Senate and Assembly followed suit. In 1999 Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (now Peace Over Violence), made Denim Day an annual event. As of 2011 at least 20 U.S. states officially recognize Denim Day in April, more than 2 million Americans participated in Denim Day.
Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape.
Source: uwosh.edu | denimdayinfo.org | nytimes.com
In 2024 Denim Day in USA falls on April 24.