The 20th Denim Day

This year during fall quarter I joined the UC Davis chapter of Alpha Chi Omega. I learned that our philanthropy events help raise awareness for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through donating the proceeds from our events to Empower Yolo. Frankly, I was elated to find that Alpha Chi Omega supports the same organization and causes as Her Campus at UCD! 

Empower Yolo is a non-profit organization that supports the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. As a young woman in college, I, along with my friends and peers, fall within one of the most vulnerable age ranges when it comes to domestic violence and sexual assault. Females from age 18 to 25 have generally experienced the highest rate of intimate partner violence. In lieu of this information, the importance of these issues caused me to decide to continue raising awareness and fighting fiercely against the prevalence of these crimes.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly one in four women and one in seven men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This statistic specifically, one in four women and one in seven men, is what further opened my eyes to the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault as these cases are often overlooked when a survivor seeks justice.

Image Source: Josh Barwick from Unsplash

Wednesday, April 24th marked the 20th year of Denim Day, a day when all can wear denim in solidarity with the women of the Italian Parliament who wore jeans to work to protest the appeal of a case in 1999. In 1992, an 18 year-old woman was sexuallly assualted by her driving instructor on their way to her first driving lesson. The previous verdict was overturned when the Italian High Court argued that the sex between the woman and her driving instructor was consensual because she was wearing tight jeans, meaning that she would have had to, in some way, help him take off her jeans, therefore, defining the act as consensual.

Image Source: Priscilla Du Perez from Unsplash

In my opinion, it is stories like these where destructive attitudes towards sexual assault undermine the experiences of those who are survivors as well as the justice they deserve. Events like Denim Day attempt to erode the decades of erroneous attitudes towards sexual assault in our communities and all throughout the world. Survivors of these crimes should feel supported by those around them and not merely dismissed as so many cases in the past have shown.

Cases like the aforementioned are what exacerbate our society's flaws, one being victim blaming, which refrains survivors from sharing their stories and fighting for justice. We, as a society, have the power to participate in events like these to support those who are not getting the support or being heard in the ways they should be.

If we don’t make a change, who will?