Advocates raising awareness for sexual assault survivors on ‘Denim Day’

Apr 27, 2022, 8:02 AM | Updated: Jun 20, 2022, 2:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Advocates will raise awareness for sexual assault resources in a unique way Wednesday, by wearing denim.

It’s Denim Day, a day to show solidarity for sexual assault survivors and take a stand against victim-blaming. The Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault gathered at the Utah Capitol Wednesday morning to mark the occasion.

In Utah, one in five women and one in 25 men experience sexual assault or attempted sexual assault during their lifetime.

Rep. Angela Romero, D-Salt Lake City, said these cases often go unreported, and she’s working to change that.

“People feel a sense of hopelessness and so our whole goal with denim day is to start by believing them. With all the work we do on sexual assault awareness is to remind victims that they have the help and support.”

There are resources available for anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, such as the UCASA and Rape Recovery Center.

“We must lead with prevention because it’s the only way we can ensure we are working towards eradicating sexual violence in Utah. We invite you to wear jeans with a purpose and stand in solidarity with survivors,” said Liliana Olvera-Arbon, UCASA executive director.

Utahns can be part of their social and fashion statement and wear denim on Wednesday. If you can’t make it to the Capitol, snap a pic of you wearing denim and post it on social media with the hashtag #DenimDayUtah.

The Denim Day campaign began in 1999 after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because the justices felt the victim implied consent because she was wearing tight jeans and must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans.

The next day, women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

“What began as a protest of an outrageous verdict has grown into a powerful, worldwide movement of awareness and solidarity,” said Patti Giggans, Denim Day founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Peace Over Violence, which hosts the annual campaign.

Denim Day is held every April, during Sexual Assault and Awareness Month.

“As the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence,” said Peace Over Violence.

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Advocates raising awareness for sexual assault survivors on ‘Denim Day’