Good reason to wear jeans today: April 25th is widely recognized as Denim Day USA and dedicated to the prevention of sexual violence.
Denim Day originates from a particularly infuriating Italian court case in which a rape conviction was overturned on the grounds that the victim was wearing “very, very tight jeans” at the time.
The victim, an 18-year-old driving-school student, was brutally raped during a lesson by her 45-year-old driving instructor. She brought charges against him; he was convicted and sent to jail. He appealed, and in 1998, the Italian Supreme Court dropped the charges, reasoning that surely he couldn’t have removed her tight jeans without her assistance. And, if he had her assistance, the court reasoned, it must have been consensual.
For argument’s sake, let’s say that Italian case happened just as the court imagined: the victim took off her own jeans. You know what it’s called when someone is forced to have sex after removing his or her jeans? It’s called rape.
Italian female lawmakers were (understandably) outraged, and many began wearing jeans to Parliament in protest of the decision. The news spread to California, and nonprofit organization Peace Over Violence started Denim Day in LA in 1999. Denim Day has since spread throughout the country (even to Broward County, which observed its Denim Day on Tuesday) as a movement to educate about and bring awareness to sexual violence. Which we’re obviously sorely in need of.
So, with that in mind, go put on your most kickass pair of jeans.