You might have seen a flier around campus advertising for Denim Day at OSU tomorrow.
You might have even pieced together that it has something to do with prevention of sexual assault. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Oh, this is just some new thing OSU created as part of the 1 is 2 Many campaign or the online sexual assault training students are now required to complete.”
Well, you would be partially right. The OSU Student Conduct Office, which oversees the 1 is 2 Many campaign at OSU, is the office that is in charge of promoting Denim Day at OSU. However, this event has been around for almost two decades and, is in fact, an international movement arising from a real-life event.
In 1992, an 18 year-old-girl in Italy was raped by her driving instructor. Six years later, his conviction was overturned because the Italian Supreme Court said that her jeans were too tight, and she would have had to helped the driver get them off therefore indicating consent. The next day, women of the Italian Parliament wore jeans in protest and soon the case was receiving international attention and protest. In 2008, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the “denim defense” as a valid defense for rape.
The reason this movement is important is that it seeks to end the culture of victim-blaming (aka rape culture) through the absurdity of the “denim defense.” Flimsy reasons such as, “She was asking for it” and “She was dressed slutty” and “She shouldn’t have been drinking” are just excuses to not spend the time and energy to actually address the root cause of many sexual assault cases, in that perpetrators are usually driven by a sense of entitlement, societal expectations of masculinity, or just flat out ignorance as to what sexual assault is and why it is WRONG!
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and OSU will be holding Denim Day on April 14 instead of the national day of recognition this year on April 29. The purpose behind the movement can and should be promoted more than one day a year. Wings of Hope will be on campus to offer information about its services, many of which provide help to survivors of sexual assault. So wear your denim tomorrow to campus for Denim Day at OSU and feel free to share your support on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtags #Okstate, #DenimDay or #DenimDayOSU.
Oh, final note…you don’t have to wear denim to support the cause. Having conversations with your friends and family about the issue surprisingly works just as well!