Every year on Denim Day the staff of AVDA wears denim to work—alongside millions around the world—
The Denim Day story begins in Italy in 1992, when an 18-year old girl was raped by the 45-year old driving instructor who was taking her to her very first driving lesson. He drove her down an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans, and forcefully raped her. She reported the rape, and the perpetrator was arrested, prosecuted, convicted of rape, and sentenced to prison. Years later, he appealed the conviction claiming that they had consensual sex. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction, and the perpetrator was released. A statement from the Court argued that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was not rape but consensual sex.
Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament launched a protest wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. This protest was picked up by international media, which inspired the California Senate and Assembly to do the same on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. The nonprofit organization Peace Over Violence thought that everyone should wear jeans in protest. Thus, Denim Day was born!
The AVDA staff wears denim one day of the year in solidarity with activists around the world, but our work in seeking justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is year-round. Sadly, sexual abuse is one of the many ways that intimate partners maintain power and control over their victims. AVDA’s family law attorneys represent clients in seeking protective orders, divorce, child custody, child support, and adoption in the case of parental fatality. Our designated sexual assault attorney provides legal counsel and/or representation to ensure the safety of survivors of sexual assault. Through free legal aid, AVDA continues to serve and seek justice for the most vulnerable in our communities.