by Kelly Thornborrow, USAG Bavaria SHARP Victim Advocate
April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and as part of this month of awareness, April 29 is Denim Day. 2020 marks the 21st year of Denim Day internationally.
A day for denim? You might be wondering why denim of all things is supposed to help support the awareness and prevention of sexual assault. It all started in Italy, when a rape case was brought to court. In this case, a young woman was assaulted and in the events of the attack, the young woman’s jeans were removed. In 1992, the perpetrator was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.
The detail of the jeans being removed amid the violent attack was later used in a 1998 appeal by the perpetrator. His appeal was that the woman’s tight jeans meant that she would have had to help take them off and the act of removing the jeans made the rape consensual. As a result of this appeal, the Italian High Court overturned the conviction and the perpetrator was released. This ruling led to protests of what was later known as the “jeans alibi,” through both Italy and abroad, highlighting the public’s frustration with this case and the prevalence of rape myths.
In 1999, Denim Day was created by an organization called Peace over Violence in collaboration with these protests to bring awareness to myths about clothing and consent. More information on the history of Denim Day can be found here.
By wearing denim on April 29th, people around the world stand together to bring awareness to the idea that clothing is not a proper determinant of consent. To participate in the activity it is simple, just find some denim clothing and wear it! You can show your support for this activity in our community by taking a selfie of you wearing denim and use the hashtag: #BavariaDenimDay2020.
SHARP support is available 24/7 across the entire USAG Bavaria and 7th ATC footprint.
An on-call member of the SHARP Team can be reached by calling the Bavaria SHARP Hotline at (CIV) (+49) 09641-70-569-4567 or (DSN) 314-569-4567.
The DoD Safe Helpline can also be reached at; (CIV) 0611-143-537-SAFE(7233), (DSN) 537-7233, by using the DoD Safe Helpline App, or through safehelpline.org.