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Denim: It’s Not A Fashion Choice, It’s An Advocacy One

By: Arezoo Roa, MSW, Prevention & Community Education Director

In every corner of the world, behind closed doors, and within seemingly peaceful communities, relationship violence and sexual assault cast long and dark shadows on countless lives. It’s a deeply troubling reality that demands our attention, our empathy, and our action. The prevalence of these issues is staggering.

Relationship violence and sexual violence often intersect in the lives of survivors, exacerbating the trauma and perpetuating cycles of abuse. In abusive relationships, sexual violence can be used as a tool to exert power and control over the victim, establishing the abuser’s dominance in the relationship, and undermining the survivor’s freedom and autonomy. In navigating the aftermath of this trauma, survivors often experience a range of symptoms, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and self-harm. The journey toward healing and independence can be lonely and dark for survivors, but it does not have to be.

Each of us have the opportunity to be a light pushing through this darkness by taking a stand and showing up for victims who have been sexually assaulted by their partners. In doing this, it is important that we listen to their stories, amplify their voices, and stand in solidarity with survivors to help them heal and end the cycle of violence from perpetuating. Knowing why we wear jeans for Denim Day and what marked the significance of that day is a great start.

Originating from a landmark case in Italy in the 90’s, where a rape conviction was overturned because the victim was wearing tight jeans, Denim Day, observed annually in April, is a powerful global movement challenging victim-blaming attitudes and raising awareness about relationship violence and sexual assault.

Wearing denim on this day isn’t merely a fashion choice, it’s a powerful symbol of solidarity with survivors, rejecting the notion that clothing choices or behavior justify acts of violence. In our communities it encourages conversations about consent, healthy relationships, and the importance of supporting survivors. As we commemorate Denim Day this year and beyond, let us challenge victim-blaming attitudes and invest in a place where safety, respect, and equality are at the forefront of everything we do. Together we can make a difference and build a future free from violence. It starts with supporting the survivors.

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship violence, please reach out to local support services or helplines for assistance and support. You are not alone, and help is available.

At Human Options we offer a 24/7 hotline where victims and survivors can speak with an empathetic, caring advocate who can help navigate available resources and validate their experience. Additionally, we offer a Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) and counseling for more specialized support and strategies for coping with the effects of abuse. 

For more information call our hotline at 877-854-3594 or visit humanoptions.org. 


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