Take A Stand: Denim Day
On April 24— the 20th anniversary of Denim Day— millions of people across the world will wear jeans with a purpose, support survivors, and educate themselves and others about all forms of sexual violence.
TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post references sexual assault, but also talks about support services for survivors of sexual assault.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but for many individuals and organizations, sexual assault is discussed on a daily basis.
35% of women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lives (United Nations).
Every 92 seconds, someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. That means there are 321,500 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network).
At least 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused or assaulted, whether in childhood or as adults.
For the past 20 years, the nonprofit Peace Over Violence has led a Denim Day campaign in April, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
This is the third year that United Way has participated in the #DenimDay campaign, inspired by Dawn Helmrich at United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Dawn is a tireless advocate for survivors of sexual assault.
Denim Day first started 20 years ago when the Italian Supreme Court ruled that a woman’s rape must have been consensual because her jeans were so tight that she had to help remove them for her perpetrator (who was then acquitted). In protest, women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to work the next day.
Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign the next year. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape. Anyone can be sexually assaulted. People of all genders, all ages, all ethnicities, all socioeconomic levels, and all sexual orientations can be sexually assaulted.
Today, the United Way team shows our support for survivors of sexual assault by wearing denim. We stand with those who have spoken out. We stand with those who have not yet found the strength to share their story.
If you, or someone you know, is looking for local mental health resources or survivor support, contact the following United Way partners:
- Sexual Assault Center of Middle Tennessee
- The Refuge Center for Counseling
- Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee
You can also call 2-1-1 or text your ZIP code to 898-211 for additional community resources.
Original post by Neil Parekh, Director of Network Communications, United Way Worldwide