The Origin of Denim Day
Denim Day grew out of a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The judges reasoned the victim’s tight jeans meant that she had to have helped her assailant remove them, implying consent. People all over the world were outraged, and wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault.Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, led by Patti Giggans, organized the country’s first Denim Day event in 1999. Under POV’s leadership, Denim Day LA & USA has grown into a national movement. In 2011, more than 2 million Americans participated in Denim Day.
— Commissioner Bratton (@CommissBratton) April 29, 2015
Research and Statistics on Sexual Violence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). Developed by CDC’s Injury Center, NISVS was initiated in 2010 to collect accurate and reliable incidence and prevalence estimates for intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking victimization. Released on December 14, 2011, this data draws important attention to these issues and creates opportunities to advance our intervention and prevention efforts. Among the NISVS findings:
Sexual violence is a major public health issue.
- 1 in 5 women (18.3%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives
- 1 in 71 men (1.4%) in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives
Sexual violence other than rape reveals the full scope of the problem.
- Nearly 1 in 2 women (44.6%) experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives
- 1 in 5 men (22.2%) experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives
The majority of sexual assaults are by someone the victim knew.
- More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance
- More than half (52.4%) of male victims reported being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger
The majority of victimizations start early in life.
- Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 and almost half experienced the first rape before age 18 (30% between 11-17 years old and 12% at or before the age of 10)
- 28% of male victims of rape were first sexually assaulted when they were 10 years old or younger
- Learn more at the CDC website and the National Online Resource on Violence Against Women.
A landmark research study, “Partners and Peers: Sexual and Dating Violence Among NYC Youth,” co-published in 2008 by the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health’s Center for Youth Violence Prevention, found that NYC youth are victimized at a rate twice the national average. Among the study findings:
Sexual and dating violence are extremely common among NYC youth.
- 16% (or more than one in six students) reported experiencing sexual violence at some point in their lives
Dating violence is often inclusive of both physical and sexual violence.
- 71% of youth who experienced threatening behaviors from a dating partner also experienced physical violence from that dating partner
- Likewise, 63% of youth who reported experiencing sexual violence from their partner experienced physical dating violence from that same partner
Youth experience sexual violence from people they know.
- 89% of youth who had experienced sexual violence at some time in their lives said it was committed against them by someone they knew, such as their dating partners, family members, and other acquaintances
To access the full report, go to the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault website.
Sexual Violence in the LGBTQ Community
- Sexual violence happens at least as often if not more often to LGBTQ people as to non-LGBTQ people
- Transgender people in particular may experience a higher level of intimate partner and sexual violence
- In Approximately 1 in 11 male-identified GBT people will experience sexual violence during his lifetime, yet male sexual violence survivors frequently do not seek services as sexual violence is rarely discussed and highly stigmatized