April 23 is designated Denim Day, and in observation of the occasion, many Berkeley students are encouraging their campus peers to “make a social statement with your fashion statement” by wearing clothes made from the sturdy cotton fabric.
Why denim, and what’s the social statement?
Denim Day grew from a 1999 court ruling, in which the Italian High Court overturned a rape conviction, arguing that because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of the assault, she must have been conferring consent. The ruling provoked outrage and wearing denim on the anniversary became an international expression of protest against misguided attitudes about sexual violence.
Denim-clad Berkeley participants in the U.S. Denim Day campaign will be out in force from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday near Sather Gate, where they’ll distribute campaign buttons and information about the issue.
Nearby, on Upper Sproul Plaza, like-minded students will return with the Clothesline Project, a display of T-shirts decorated by those who have something to share about violence against women. The Clothesline Project began on Cape Cod in 1990, and has been a tradition at Berkeley since 2007.
Denim Day and the Clothesline Project are just two of many activities taking place on campus throughout April, which is Sexual-Assault Awareness Month.