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Italy – 1997

An 18-year-old young woman is picked up by her 45-year-old driving instructor. He takes her to an isolated area and rapes her. He threatens her with death if she tells anyone and makes her drive home. She later tells her parents and they support her in reporting the attack to authorities. The perpetrator is arrested, convicted and sentenced to jail.

The perpetrator appeals the sentence and the case makes its way to the Italian Supreme Court. It is later overturned because the Chief Judge decides that, “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 and wanting to take action, women in the Italian Parliament decide to protest by wearing jeans to work and holding signs that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” In support of this call to action, the California Senate and Assembly do the same. Shortly after, Patricia Giggans, the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence creates “Denim Day.”

Each year, Denim Day takes place at the end of April to bring awareness to sexual violence and help end victim blaming.

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