April 27th, 2022 is the annually acclaimed, Denim Day, a date first started in 2019 to bring knowledge and awareness to a 1998 Italian Supreme Court decision, in which the jury overturned a rape case because of a pair of tight jeans. An 18-year-old girl was on the road with her married 45-year-old driving instructor, who proceeded to rape her while they were alone in the car. The case was overturned due to the decision that the 45-year-old would not be able to pull down the girl’s tight jeans without her help, therefore, her actions would be considered consensual. The 45-year-old was declared not guilty and immediately released back into the community.
Just like this particular case, unfortunately, in most sexual abuse cases, the jury rules in favor of the alleged perpetrator, declaring that there simply is not enough evidence to support the story of the victim. It is the role of A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center to take the side of the victim and assume the truth and validity of their abuse experience. It is our job as advocates to recommend trusted support systems and community members who are willing to reinforce and help provide stable support and assistance to these recovering victims of child abuse.
This 18-year-old girl was brave enough to use her voice and share the truth of her sexual abuse story. Despite her perpetrator’s threats to kill her and her loved ones if she disclosed to anyone, the girl bravely reached out for help immediately and told her parents, who instantly reported the abuse. Despite her parents’ prompt report to authority, the case was still overturned and officials chose to assume the validity of the perpetrator as opposed to the supposed abused victim, solely based on the primary evidence of a pair of skinny jeans. Therefore, openly allowing the perpetrator back into the community, accepting and willing the chances of his possible, and likely, continued endeavors of child sexual abuse. Although the victim used her voice and spoke up about her abuse incident, only to be assumed she played a part in the consensual sexual relationship, within these past years, significant awareness and changes have been made within the child abuse prevention system in order to better advocate for abused children. While the horrors of the decision of Denim Day still remain decades later after the event, the case raised a remarkable move of awareness and desire for system changes, which have indeed been in process.
While this young victim bravely chose to use her voice and speak the truth, it is up to all of us to be willing and open to doing the same. Protect your loved ones and your community by speaking out against injustices and abuse. If you see something, say something.