7 May 2021 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

HJ Talks About Abuse: Denim Day 2021

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and one way to raise awareness was by wearing jeans on 'Denim Day' which was on 28 April 2021.

Denim Day is on a Wednesday in April every year and is to remind society of the dangers and injustices of victim blaming.

The campaign began after the Italian Supreme Court, in 1999, overturned a rape conviction in which an 18-year-old student in Italy was raped by her 45-year-old driving instructor during a driving lesson in 1992. They ruled that because she was wearing tight jeans, there must have been consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement. We are all familiar with the refrain: “she was asking for it…”; “what did he expect?”. These are of course weak excuses for criminal behaviour, if not outright condonement.

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 is particular apt given current concerns about sexual assault and harassment in schools and universities.

Ofsted inspectors are to carry out checks on schools in England that have been the subject of recent complaints about sexual harassment and assault.

The education watchdog said inspection teams would visit a sample of institutions where cases have been highlighted on the Everyone’s Invited website, which has collected more than 14,000 testimonies including alleged rapes and sexual attacks among children of school age.

The visits will form part of an emergency review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, due to be completed by the end of May.

Ofsted said it would not report on individual schools or cases but would look at good and bad practice across the country.

Details of Ofsted’s investigation can be found here and more information on Denim Day can be found on the website here.

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