HILO, Hawaii: It was Denim Day on Wednesday, a day marked as a means to educate people about sexual violence prevention. Zonta Club of Hilo and the Prosecutor’s staff met in front of the County’s Aupuni Center for a show of denim and support for equal treatment. It is part of observing April as Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month.
Barbara Hastings, the president of the Zonta Club of Hilo, sent this information on the reason behind the denim display:
Denim Day is a growing global initiative to raise awareness and educate the public about rape and sexual assault. It began in 1998 after an Italian Supreme Court overturned the rape conviction of a driving instructor because his teenage student had worn tight jeans.
Since her jeans were tight, the court said, she must have helped her attacker remove them, hence the act was consensual.
Women were enraged; the next day Italian women legislators wore jeans and held signs, “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” Today wearing jeans is part of the international symbol against sexual violence and at least 20 of the United States officially recognize Denim Day.
Zonta Club of Hilo and the County Prosecutor’s office joined groups across the country and the world to use denim to get the message out.
Hastings says Zontians across the world are focused on advancing the status of women and girls. Zontians envision a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.