It’s not very often that I use my blog to talk about deep, important stuff like social issues and advocacy. That’s because when I started Graceful Rags back in 2016, I did it to scratch my itch for creativity, and more importantly, I wanted to design something fun and lighthearted through the lens of fashion—a place for stylish young gals to come and poke fun at the latest trends, find outfit inspiration, and maybe even laugh every now and again. But with that said, there is always more to be said when it comes to raising awareness for major issues in today’s society, like sexual assault. Yes, it’s hard to talk about. No, it’s not glamorous or fun. But yes, it needs to be discussed. And when social awareness and fashion collide? Well, you know I had to partake.
Next Wednesday, April 24, will be Denim Day. For the past 20 years, Peace Over Violence—a nonprofit advocating for healthy relationships free from sexual, domestic, and interpersonal violence—has dedicated a Wednesday during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (aka April) to wearing denim. Why denim, you may ask?
The story goes like this: A girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor. Later, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the rape conviction because the girl was wearing tight jeans, and they concluded that because her jeans were so tight, she must have had to help her attacker remove them—therefore implying consent. Is that not the most disgusting, infuriating thing you’ve ever heard? No outfit—no matter how form-fitting or how much skin is showing—is an invitation for assault.
The next day, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work in solidarity with the victim: the first (informal) Denim Day. Now, as the official Denim Day website describes it, this campaign “has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape…[Participants] 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.”
Make a social statement with their fashion statement. Don’t you just love that?
I think I first learned about Denim Day last year, but by that point it was already too late to publish a blog post about it. But not this year! I wanted to give you all adequate time to sift through your dirty clothes hampers, wash your jeans, and prepare your outfit before next Wednesday. It’s really that easy to participate in this movement: by wearing jeans, you stand with survivors and help spread the message that no outfit (or actions, or behaviors) gives someone the permission to commit assault.
To learn more about Denim Day, click here. To register a class, team, other group, or organization as official participants of the campaign, click here. To donate to prevention programs and services for survivors, click here. And finally, to access the National Sexual Assault Hotline, or to find other resources, click here.
I hope you take the messages of this post to heart and that you found my presentation of the topic respectful and appropriate. As I mentioned before, discussing these sorts of things are difficult and very delicate, but I figure trying is better than nothing. Please feel free to reach out and leave me any comments or concerns, either in the Comment box below or privately through my Contact tab.
Have a wonderful weekend, y’all. Go treat yo’self to some ice cream to lighten the mood.