Making a Fashion Statement

By Joelyn Hansen

Today we wear denim. Not because it's casual Thursday. Not because it's comfortable. Not because we had nothing else to wear. But because today our fashion statement is making a statement. We’re protesting sexual assault.

Why denim?

In the 1990s, an 18-year old Italian girl is picked up by her married 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.

He appeals the sentence. The case makes it’s all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work.

The Idaho Falls Police Department knows the importance of raising awareness about sexual assault within our communities, which is why we choose to wear jeans in honor of denim day.

Statistics show that one out of every six American women are victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. That means 17.7 million are victims of these crimes. It’s 3 percent, or 2.78 million, of American men. The scariest statistic is that 44 percent of rape victims are under age 18 and three out of 20 victims are under age 12.

Denim Day is only one day a year. However, the IFPD vows to fight sexual assault 365 days a year. Will you join us?