Businesses and individuals sported their sturdy blue cotton duds as the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition kicked off Denim Day in the Virgin Islands Friday.
Supporters called the DVSAC hotline and rocked their denim clothing around the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Last year, about 70 people participated.
“By wearing denim, you let your actions speak out for you,” said Dawn O’Bryan, executive assistant at DVSAC.
DVSAC spread the word about Denim Day through e-mails to companies and schools as well as flyers in popular areas. Groups like Guardian Insurance and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have already called in. O’Bryan noted that they hope to get more schools involved in years to come. Children and young adults need to be aware of these issues, she said.
“This is just a little drop in the bucket. We hope to start some dialogue, communication, understanding, interest to find out more. People need to understand that sexual violence isn’t just affecting women, but adults, families, and the community,” said O’Bryan.
The Virgin Islands DVSAC branch has participated for several years and observes the event in collaboration with A Day to End Sexual Violence. These take place in April in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The Denim Day movement began in the 1990s when an 18 year-old girl was raped by her driving instructor in Italy. The instructor was convicted, but appealed his case, and was released when high court jutices said that because she was wearing tight jeans, she must have had to help him remove them, making the act consensual.
Women in the Italian Parliament were enraged by the verdict and launched into immediate action by wearing jeans to work. Today, the movement is internationally recognized in support for ending sexual violence around the world.
To be counted for participation, please call DVSAC at 340-719-0144.