Luther College recently celebrated Denim Day in efforts to raise awareness about rape, its misconceptions and prevention during sexual assault awareness month.
Luther raised $410, which will be used to support sexual assault awareness month next year at Luther and provide assistance to Northeast Iowa services that support sexual assault victims.
The history of Denim Day dates back to 1998 in Italy. An 18-year old girl was picked up by her driving instructor and taken to an isolated area where she was forcefully raped. With the help of her parents, the girl pressed charges; the perpetrator was arrested, convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.
The perpetrator appealed the sentence and it went all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. The case was overturned, dismissed, and he was released. The Chief Judge said that, "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."
Women in the Italian Parliament were enraged by the verdict and protested by wearing jeans to work. This bold action caused the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which then spread to Patricia Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in Los Angeles was created.
The first Denim Day in Los Angeles was in 1999 and has continued ever since.