Thousands of students across the nation plan to wear denim Wednesday in support of National Denim Day, a day when all are encouraged to wear jeans to support sexual abuse survivors while educating themselves and others about the unspoken epidemic of sexual assault.
The College of the Canyons and other Santa Clarita Valley schools are expected to participate in the national event as they honor the day and survivors with festivities on their own campuses. April is Sexual Assault Awareness month.
“We honor and remind people on April 25,” Linda Davies said, “that in 1998, the Italian Supreme Court decided to overturn a rape conviction because a young girl was wearing very, very tight jeans.”
They had no other basis for overturning the conviction, the executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Domestic Violence Center said, referring to a story about an 18-year-old who was raped by an older man after he picked her up for a driving lesson.
“Within a matter of days, the case against the driving instructor was overturned and dismissed,” Davies said. “Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian parliament protested by wearing denim jeans to work.”
People all over the world were outraged by the case.
“Wearing jeans soon became a symbol of protest to the erroneous and destructive attitudes surrounding sexual assault,” Davies said. Hence, Denim Day
Davies’ group of youth specialists visited the College of the Canyons’ Canyon Country campus Tuesday before heading to the Valencia campus Wednesday to celebrate Denim Day.
At the event, children were invited to come and paint a message on a pair of denim jeans. There were statistics and information about the things men can do to help with the rape culture and ways they can empower and support women.
Davies and the youth specialist hope to further educate men about the definition of consent at the Denim Day events.
“Consent is a complete and utter yes,” Davies explained. “Even if you start, and the person then says no, you respect that and don’t continue.”
The painted jeans and statistics will be hung from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at the College of the Canyons Valencia campus.
Those in attendance are encouraged to take pictures and spread the information to help dispel any myths that are associated with sexual assault.
“We need raise to awareness that we live in a culture where sexual violence happens to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men,” Davies said. “We need to come together unified so we can stop this from happening in our country and the world.”
Davies encourages anybody who may be in need of help to call the 24 hour hotline at 661-259-4357 to find support groups, court advocacy, counseling and shelter.