As an agency that works to end sexual violence of all kinds, we invite you to participate in Denim Day. Denim Day is an anti-sexual violence campaign that uses denim jeans as a statement to raise awareness about victim blaming, rape culture, and sexual abuse. All over the world, women and men who are victims of sexual assault continue to be accused of causing the assault due to their behavior or fashion. These accusations – and the mindset behind them – must end.
Did you know that in Rhode Island, one in eight women have been sexually assaulted during their lifetime? In addition, an estimated one in four girls and one in six boys will experience sexual assault before they are 18 years old. It’s unacceptable and it is time for a change.
In 1998 in Italy, an 18-year-old girl was raped by her driving instructor. The man was convicted, but the case went to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome. The court overturned the conviction, arguing that because the girl wore very tight jeans, she must have helped remove them, thereby giving consent to have sex. The women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work. Wearing jeans became a symbol of awareness that what someone wears is never an excuse for rape. The first Denim Day was in April 1999, and has continued in cities in the US and around the world every year since.
To honor Denim Day, we encourage community members and businesses to wear jeans to work or school to promote a discussion of the misconceptions that surround sexual violence. Participants can share pictures online using the hashtag #DayOneDenimDay.
We also ask that you hold a Denim Day fundraiser at your business and collect donations from staff who participate to benefit Day One. On Denim Day, you can make an optional donation of $2.00 or more and join colleagues, friends, family, and staff who support Day One’s efforts in preventing sexual violence. In 2016 alone, Day One served over 10,000 children, adolescents, and adults through our programs, and your donations help us continue our services and create new programs. With your help, we can reduce the prevalence of sexual violence, so use this day as an opportunity to dress down for a great cause!
It is also important to keep the awareness going throughout the year after Denim Day. Many businesses have dress down Fridays during the year, please consider turning it into a fundraiser each week with a donation to Day One.
Thank you for your support!