The history of Jeans for Justice – In 1999, a judge in Italy overturned a 1998 rape conviction of a 45 year-old driving instructor who had been convicted of raping his 18-year-old student. A lower court had sentenced the defendant to 2 years and eight months in prison but the appeals court sent the case back for retrial and a higher court over turned the ruling on the basis of what the victim was wearing. The higher court ruled that it is impossible to take off tight pants such as jeans “without the cooperation of the person wearing them”, and said it was impossible if the victim is struggling. The court also doubted the testimony of the victim because she waited several hours to tell her parents she had been attacked.
Following the ruling, a group of female Italian lawmakers wore jeans to parliament. This action prompted women all over Italy to join in a “skirt strike” and wear jeans. Female TV personalities known for chic dress began to don only denim. A housewives’ federation offered a prize to any designer who could come up with “easy off jeans” and planned a jean march to the justice ministry.
Union Official Stefania Sidoli said, “We thank the court for having enriched women’s wardrobes with a new garment. To the business suit and the little black dress, we can now add the anti-rape outfit: a comfortable and resistant pair of jeans.”
Protests have now gone global and are currently taking place today in the form of “Jeans for Justice”. Last year GEICO hosted a “Jeans for Justice” day to support RCASA and every year, RCASA joins with the Pinwheel Partnership for Prevention to have “dress down” days to show support.