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On Wednesdays We Wear Jeans: What to Know about Denim Day

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at South Carolina chapter.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and there are many ways throughout the month to raise awareness on sexual violence prevention and show support for sexual assault survivors — one of which might just be hanging in your closet. On Denim Day, observed on the last Wednesday in April, your comfiest pair of jeans or trusty denim jacket can help educate others on sexual assault prevention. 

The story behind Denim Day begins in Rome, Italy, in 1992 when an 18-year-old girl was raped by her driving instructor during her first driving lesson. She reported the rape and the instructor was arrested and convicted, but he appealed his sentence seven years later in 1999, claiming that he and the girl had consensual sex. The case made it to the Italian High Court, which sided with the driving instructor, citing that because the girl was wearing jeans so tight she would have had to help the instructor to pull them down and therefore consented. 

In response to the ruling, women in Italy’s parliament gathered at the steps of the Italian Supreme Court wearing jeans, a form of protest that would spread across the world. The movement caught the attention of Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans, the executive director of Peace over Violence, a nonprofit focused on advocating against “sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence,” and she organized the first official Denim Day in 1999. First observed in Los Angeles, the protest has expanded over the past twenty-five years into a campaign aimed to educate others about rape prevention and is now observed by twenty states across the US, as well as internationally. In 2016, the University of Southern California became the first college campus to recognize the Denim Day campaign.  

As Denim Day celebrates its twenty-fifth year of advocacy against sexual violence on April 24th this year, now is the perfect time get involved in the campaign. Even if your campus or state does not officially recognize Denim Day, you can still partake on your own. Pick out your favorite denim closet staple and wear it around to raise awareness about sexual violence prevention and stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault. Post your denim outfit using the hashtag #DenimDay to show solidarity on social media, or take the Denim Day online pledge to support the campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault prevention. You can also donate to Peace Over Violence to help them continue their work in educating the public about sexual violence prevention. 

Participating in Denim Day is an easy and effective way to educate yourself and others about sexual assault prevention, while also showing support for sexual assault survivors. Opportunities like this make it possible for anyone can become a sexual assault prevention advocate — in fact, it might just be in your jeans.

Mollie Naugle

South Carolina '26

Mollie is a member of Her Campus editorial team and sophomore journalism major at the University of South Carolina. She writes for the Arts and Culture section of The Daily Gamecock, mentors Honors students as part of the Honors Peer Mentor Program, and is a member of Zeta Phi Eta communications fraternity. Outside of the classroom and her extracurriculars, Mollie can be found reading, listening to music (especially Taylor Swift), spending time outside on campus, hanging out with her friends and family, cheering for her favorite Philly sports teams, and trying new things in the Columbia area.