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Why You Should Wear Denim This Wednesday: Denim Day 2024

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

Content Warning: This article contains themes related to rape and sexual assault. Please prioritize your mental health. 

Every year on April 24th, the world comes together to commemorate Denim Day. You may have seen this circulating around social media or seen the displays around campus, but maybe you don’t know what it is or how it started. If this is you, it’s ok. I had no idea either until I joined my sorority, which focuses on this day because of our philanthropy, Domestic Violence Awareness. However, this is a super important topic for us to discuss, especially as young women. 

The origin of Denim Day started in 1992 in Italy, when an 18-year-old woman was raped by her driving instructor during their first lesson. The woman reported the assault to the authorities, and the man was arrested, convicted of rape, and sentenced to jail. However, several years later, in 1999, he appealed his conviction by saying that it was consensual. The Italian Supreme Court approved his appeal on the basis that her jeans were so tight that she would have had to help remove them, and therefore consented.

The women of the Italian Parliament were outraged by this ruling and wore denim jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court in protest. This protest became international news, and was replicated by the Californian Senators and Assemblywomen on the steps of the California Capitol Building in Sacramento.

Shortly after, the first Denim Day was commemorated in Los Angeles, CA on April 24, 1999, where a group of women wore denim in solidarity and support of all women who have experienced sexual assault and rape.

This is a horrible and sad story about a woman who was not only assaulted, but had to face the court not believing her and letting her perpetrator free based on her clothing. There are several things I want to say in regards to this story. 

One, your clothing is never consent. No matter what you are wearing, the clothing that you put on your body does not give any one else a right to that body. The Italian Supreme Court ruled that because she would’ve “had to help remove her jeans”, it was consensual. However, even if they truly believed that, this is still not consent. Removing your clothes does not mean you are consenting to anything. On top of that, consent can be withdrawn at any point in a sexual situation, even after you remove your clothes. 

Two, we should always believe survivors. I fully understand that, in the US, there has to be legal investigations and that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. However, when a survivor is coming forward, they are often doing so at great personal risk — which should absolutely not be the case, but I digress. When a woman comes forward with an allegation or story, that allegation should be taken seriously and we should show her support in such a difficult time.

Since 1999, Denim Day has become a global movement and is the longest running sexual violence protection education campaign in history. We wear denim on April 24th every year to help bring awareness to victim blaming and help fight against the destructive myths surrounding sexual violence, we wear denim in solidarity of all women who have experienced assault, we wear denim in support of all women who have had to endure victim blaming, and we wear denim to show any and all survivors that they are not alone. The founders of Denim Day ask everyone to make a social statement by wearing jeans on April 24th as a symbol of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence. 

Not only are they asking, but I am too. Not only as a young woman, but as someone with friends who tragically have firsthand experience with sexual assault, I ask that you wear denim this coming Wednesday, April 24th to show your support and solidarity. 

To learn more about this day and the amazing work that the founders of this campaign do, I encourage you to check out their website DenimDay.org

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, there is help.


National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center: 951-686-7273

On Campus:

UCR Police Department: 951-827-5222

CARE: 951-827-6225

Title XI Harassment Office: 951-827-7070

Megan Gillam

UC Riverside '24

I am an undergraduate student at the University of California, Riverside. I am a double major in English Literature and Psychology. At UCR, I am a writer for Her Campus magazine, on the executive board of my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and am apart of the Psi Chi honor society. I enjoy writing, reading, horseback riding, hanging out with friends, shopping, cooking, and playing with my dog.