Education

Park City joins global ‘Denim Day’ movement to combat sexual violence myths

PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City Police Department has asked the community to join others around the world on April 24 by wearing denim to challenge and raise awareness about the widespread misunderstandings surrounding sexual violence.

This day, known as “Denim Day,” has a significant backstory rooted in an upsetting legal case from Italy in 1992.

The origins of Denim Day trace back to a shocking court case involving an 18-year-old girl and her 45-year-old driving instructor in Italy. During what was supposed to be her first driving lesson, the instructor took her to an isolated road, where he assaulted her. Following her immediate report of the incident, the instructor was arrested, tried and convicted of rape.

However, years later, the instructor appealed the conviction. In a controversial decision, the Italian Supreme Court overturned his conviction, citing the tightness of the victim’s jeans as proof of consent. The court reasoned that the jeans were so tight that the victim must have aided in removing them, implying her consent to the sexual act. This ruling sparked outrage across Italy and was derisively referred to as the “jeans alibi.”

In protest, female members of the Italian Parliament wore jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. This act of solidarity quickly transformed into an international movement, culminating in the annual Denim Day. This day serves not only to remember the victim but to educate and correct harmful myths about sexual violence. It symbolizes a stand against misconceptions that physical appearance or clothing choice can imply consent.

Each year on April 24, by wearing denim, participants demonstrate their support for victims of sexual violence and emphasize the importance of understanding consent.

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