This Concerns You Too


Examples of what can be worn in support of denim day

Jazmyn Davis, DVC News Editor

“It was her fault”; “She lead them on”; “She shouldn’t have worn that”; “Boys will be boys.”

These are often familiar phrases that correspond with rape culture, revealing the ignorance surrounding those with these perceptions.

According to the Oxford English Living Dictionaries, rape culture is “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse,” which often brings victim blaming, “slut-shaming”, and sexual objectification into the equation.

Although the number of rapes and incidents have been acknowledged and counted for, statistics do little to capture the reality behind the harassment and assault women face. Within these accountings, there is no evidence that blatantly exposes the prevalence of rape culture in today’s society.

“I was often held accountable for what happened to me because [of] my curves and what I was wearing,” Subject A stated. “‘You lead him on’ they say, ‘You were drunk, you probably aren’t remembering correctly’ they say.”

“Instead of addressing the choices that my rapist made, I was bombarded with the actions I’d done to ‘bring this on myself’,” Subject A expressed. “This, in many ways, was just as, if not more, painful than the rape itself.”

It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria, an article written by Caroline Kitchens, featured in TIME magazine, wrote how rape culture is mainly a theory which has been “over-hyped” by “hysterical feminists”.

Kitchens downplays the significance and the seriousness of rape culture and the effects that it has on our current society. She acknowledges that rape is a serious problem, but explains how “there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm.”

Is rape culture not a cultural norm when women are often posed with questions regarding how they contributed to their rape?  What about when rapists can legally argue for the custody of a child when rape results in pregnancy in 31 states? Is rape culture not taking into account how men are also sexually assaulted?

Is the fact that nearly 1 in 5 American women have survived attempted rape or a completed rape considered a cultural norm? What about 1 in 10 men being sexually abused before the age of 18?

Kilmartin, a psychology professor and the author of the textbook “The Masculine Self,” said in an interview with New York Times, “the cult of hyper-masculinity, which tells boys that aggression is natural and sexual conquest enviable, and a set of laws and language that cast women as inferior, pliable, even disposable.”

“We start boys off at a very early age,” Kilmartin expressed. “When the worst thing we say to a boy in sports is that he throws ‘like a girl,’ we teach boys to disrespect the feminine and disrespect women. That’s the cultural undercurrent of rape.”

Although women account for 90% of sexual violence, it is vital that we, as a society, acknowledge the bereavement that everyone endures when encountering this issue.

In Rome, 1992, a 45 year old driving instructor was accused of raping an 18 year old girl for over an hour. As the instructor raped her, he commanded her not to tell anyone or he’d kill her. As time went on, the girl told her parents, ultimately leading them to take the case to court. The court justice convicted the rapist, but in 1998 the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction because the victim wore tight jeans, meaning that she “obviously” had to assist him in this act making it consensual.

According to, the Chief Judge argued, “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.”

This ruling sparked an interest in all women, but specifically Italian women. The day after the case was overturned, women of the Italian parliament protested by holding placards that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape” and wearing jeans to work.

From there, Denim Day was picked up by the executive director of peace over violence.

To be short, April is the month of Sexual Assault Awareness, and Denim Day, as of 2011, has been officially acknowledged by 20 states. This day has been used as tool for all people to stand in unity by wearing denim as a sign of protest against sexual violence.

Similar to how many have stood in solidarity with issues such as the #BlackLivesMatter and #MarchForOurLives, it is imperative that issues like these are not taken lightly, as they do not lack importance.

“I wasn’t knowledgeable about Denim Day until I was raped by my sisters boyfriend; I guess it is true that one does not pay attention to things until something happens to them,” Subject B acknowledged.

“I think that is important that we, as a community not only acknowledge, [but] be educated on Denim Day, but also make your boys understand the importance and be the first to make a change,” Subject B continued.

In most cases, many try to ignore the problems and tragedies that surround their realities, feeding the cultural norm that has been established over the years. Although no one likes to hear bad news or about tragic events, it is crucial that we all encourage one another to support movements like these, as they are equally important than others.

The truth is ugly. That is the reality.

By denying the obvious problem in today’s society, we, as a society, continue to allow the perpetual cycle: rapists go unpunished and leave survivors silenced.

As a sign of support and understanding we all are encouraged to participate in this year’s Denim Day, which takes place on Wednesday, April 25.

Whether you are worried about a loved one or yourself, those with concerns about sexual assault are encouraged to reach out and call the 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Under their wishes, both subjects remained anonymous and are referred to as Subject A and B.