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NEWS | April 25, 2023

502nd Air Base Wing observes Denim Day to support SAAPM

502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Denim Day story began as an international movement originating in Italy in 1992 and was organized as a response to the Italian Supreme Court’s decision in which a rape conviction was overturned.

In 1992, an 18-year old girl in Italy was raped by her 45-year old driving instructor who was taking her to her very first driving lesson. He took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans and forcefully raped her.

She reported the rape and the perpetrator was arrested and prosecuted. He was then convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. Years later, he appealed the conviction claiming that they had consensual sex.

The Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction and the perpetrator was released. A statement from the Court argued that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was not rape but consensual sex. This became known throughout Italy as the “jeans alibi.”

This court decision sparked protests and created an international uproar. As a symbolic gesture, protestors wore jeans in front of the steps of courts, including the Italian Supreme Court, to show solidarity with the victim.

Women of the Italian Legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans to work. As news of the decision spread, so did the protest. In April 1999, a social service agency in Los Angeles, California, established the first Denim Day in the United States.

Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim-blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence grew into a movement.

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.

This year, Denim Day is held April 26, and in support of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, or SAAPM, activities, Brig. Gen. Russell D. Driggers, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander, signed an official authorization April 7 allowing all military personnel under his command to participate in this event.

Scan the QR code on the left side of the attached flyer/image for more info on eligible personnel. Any questions should be directed to your immediate supervisor. The QR code includes memorandum, "Denim Day Observation for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.”

On April 26, remember that wearing denim is not just a fashion statement, but a sign of commitment, support and empathy.