Denim Day 2016
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Politics and Activism

Denim Day 2016

There was no excuse: she was wearing tight jeans

Denim Day 2016

Girls and clothes. I hate to stereotype it, but it's a match made in heaven. I can say that I care less about clothes as much as the next person, but when I see a cute blouse paired with an awesome set of jeans at some random clothing shop, I become that girly stereotype. Plus, there are so many different types of styles out there that us girls can freak out about. We can wear skirts, sweat pants. dresses, leggings, pajamas, etc.

Apparently, though, one article of clothing we cannot wear is skinny jeans. Something that so many women wear every single day (including myself) and one of the most common styles of today's modern clothing is considered a possible "rape" excuse. To be told that when I wear my skinny jeans that I am "asking for it" is not okay. Yet this is exactly what happened to an 18-year-old girl in Italy in 1990 and a 24-year-old woman in Australian in 2010.

These girls accused their perpetrators of rape to which they denied. After careful deliberation on the judges and the jury's part, both cases were overturned and they released the perpetrators. Why? 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," the Chief Judge on the 18-year-old Italian's case said

You cannot judge whether or not a victim was raped because of the clothes she is wearing. Even Miss Veronica Wensing, the chairwoman of the National Association of Services Against Sexual Assault, said, "Any piece of clothing can be removed with force." This is so true it hurts and the fact that the judge and jury didn't realize this to similar modern anti-rape campaigns is sad.

Women should not have to live in fear of what they can or can't wear for outfits in everyday society. We are taught and told all the time that what we wear is the deciding factor whether will would be raped or not. Yet if we had to think extra hard about what we should wear every day because it may cause us to become victims, then we would never be able to get out of the house.

Instead of telling girls what to wear and how to behave in everyday society, we should be telling men how to avoid being a rapist. No means no and consent can be revoked at any time. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has had and still has a similar campaign on their college campus trying to target the main perpetrators of this crime; men. Their slogan "Don't Be That Guy" has lead to many that it is sexist in its own right, but when many of the majority of victims are women it is hard to begin elsewhere.

But whatever came out from those cases with the poor women whose perpetrators were let go because wearing skinny jeans was considered a consensual act of sex? After finding out the verdict in Italy 1990s, women in the Italian Parliament were outraged and immediately protested by wearing a pair of jeans the next day for work. This news eventually made it to California where the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, Patricia Giggans, founded the now-annual Denim Day. Women from all over wear denim in a silent protest that it should not matter what women wear in order to feel safe.

This year's Denim Day was April 27 and over four million people registered for awareness. It's 2016; what we wear should not dictate the tragedies that may strike our lives. It's 2016 and we are strong and we are not asking for it. It's 2016 and we can wear skinny jeans if we so please.

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