Hi Queens and Kings!
It’s another amazing day, and another blessing unfolding right before our eyes made up in the present—what’s behind us was meant to make us greater, stronger versions of ourselves. So on today, we stand STRONGER than ever, campaigning along with millions of others who choose to stand in solidarity with us and other countless survivors.
What is the Denim Day Campaign?
“Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April in honor of Sexual Violence Awareness Month. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. In this rape prevention education campaign we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.” (www.denimdayinfo.com)
How can you get involved?
Share in love and solidarity by wearing denim today. We stand in solidarity with organizations like Peace Over Violence in hopes of drawing more attention to the ongoing epidemic of sexual violence and assault around the world. This week we wanted to dedicate our blog posts to the stories lived and survived by countless survivors whose voices were questioned before believed. We believe you. We stand with you, and will continue to fight for you by sharing our stories while helping to supporting others in their own walk.
To share more about her story in dismantling common misconceptions of sexual assault, is cofounder, Devin Marie.
There...in a large brown paper bag, secured with red tape that read evidence were the contents of a night I wish I could easily forget. However, no matter how much busy-work I occupied myself with or relationships I got lost in, I couldn’t forget the evening that flipped my world inside out. Inside that brown bag were my personal belongings confiscated by CIA while processing my rape case. The DA assigned to my case decided not to pursue the charges against the man who assaulted me, due to “a lack of sufficient evidence.” Yet, there I was, a year later; signing off my authorization to retrieve my personal belongings at the police station from the night that changed everything I knew about myself and the world I lived in.
The case was dropped, and everyone from the DA, the man that assaulted me, the officers that pulled me in for questioning, the nurse that processed my rape kit, the CIA officer that took personal samples of my DNA, all carried on with their lives. The world continued on and I felt stuck, with no real anwsers, no understanding, no ounce of self-love left, and certainly no real will to live... I felt defeated...and all I had to claim of my truth was that brown paper bag, and the contents inside.
One item at a time, I pulled out my white vneck, grey jeans, intimates, and my favorite vintage brown Doc Martens. I looked at them all laid out on my bedroom floor thinking We were the only ones that new the truth. Before I got too engrossed in that moment of what was soon becoming a negative head space, I scrambled to collect my things and find a place for the literal baggage I had left over. I shoved it in the deepest part of my closet, and like my case, it was left dismissed and ignored as I too, tried to continue on with my life.
I held on to that baggage because then I could reassure myself that the pain I was living with wasn’t all in vain. Everything around me seemed to go back to normal and I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t. The contents in that bag had more than just the truth from the evening I was assaulted, they contained a lot of pain too. It was a type of pain that was absorbed in the cotton fibers of my T-shirt and stained the threads that made up the jeans I wore that night before they were removed off of my unresponsive body.
And to my defense, and to the defense of all the countless cases where victims were questioned about the legitimacy of their assault...it didn’t matter that I wore that day. It wouldn’t have mattered if I dressed more provocatively or conservatively. The arguement that a woman’s way of dress provokes nonconsentual sexual advances( i.e assault, rape, harassment, molestation) is simply illegitimate and quite frankly, insulting. The way someone dresses should not warrant behavior that compromises their well-being. When women clothed from head to toe are frequently subject to gendered violence in their own homelands.
No matter how many times I examined the contents in that bag, the only thing that mattered was the truth that I wore ever since that night.
A truth that branded me a victim and that I would have to fight to change into a survivor by the renewing of my mind, and by surrounding myself with love.
Through counsel and prayer, I got up the courage to throw away that bag... because my truth was mine regardless of who believed it or who dismissed it. My truth was something I had to begin to live with and find a new normal in. And the truth is, I’m more of survivor now that my past is my past. I’m survivor because that is the story I tell myself AND believe.
So today, regardless of what story you’ve lived, you have the opportunity to reclaim it. You don’t have to carry the baggage of your past as the only means of validation. You’re very existence is all the proof you need for someone else to witness and say...”I’m a survivor too.”
With love and deepest admiration for those reclaiming their own stories...
We believe you; and your story matters!
Wear your Denim & your story PROUD!*
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.