This Wednesday, April 24, women are being encouraged to wear their jeans in honor of "Denim Day," a worldwide effort to end sexual violence. Locally, Winnemucca Domestic Violence Services is supporting the event and asking us to "make a social statement by making a fashion statement." The origins of this day are really interesting--and sad. In Rome in 1997, a 45-year-old driving instructor was accused of rape. It is alleged that when he picked up an 18-year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he raped her for an hour, then told her that if she was to tell anyone he would kill her. Later that night she told her parents and her parents agreed to help her press charges. While the alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. It was argued that she must have necessarily helped her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act consensual. The Italian Supreme Court stated in its decision that “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them." Understandably, the ruling sparked widespread protest. The day after the decision, women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans and holding placards that read “Jeans: An Alibi for Rape.” As a sign of support, the California Senate and Assembly followed suit. Soon Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, made Denim Day an annual event. As of 2011 at least 20 U.S. states officially recognize Denim Day. Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. So, grab your favorite pair of jeans and join us Wednesday as we state, with others, that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape.