Boise Cops and More Will Wear Jeans for 'Denim Day' Wednesday, April 24 

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Don't be terribly surprised to see an increasing number of co-workers wearing denim this Wednesday, April 24. It's more than simply being "business-casual." In fact, Wednesday is Denim Day and its backstory is worth retelling.

It was 1992 when an 18-year-old Italian woman was picked up at her home by a middle-aged driving instructor her parents had hired. The male instructor drove the young woman away from her town, raped her and threatened to harm her family if she told anyone. The victim eventually told authorities, but the rapist's conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court because the victim had worn tight jeans. Following the ruling and the freeing of the rapist, a number of women, all wearing jeans, staged a protest at the Italian Parliament. As news of the decision spread, so did global protests. In 1999, an agency in Los Angeles established the first Denim Day in the U.S.

The Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise began observing Denim Day in 2014, and each year the nonprofit promotes increased local recognition of the initiative. On Wednesday, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is scheduled to sign another official Denim Day proclamation at City Hall.

"We're particularly excited about what will be happening with the Boise Police Department," said WCA Communications Director Christine Davis. "[BPD] Chief Bill Bones is a big advocate for the WCA and Denim Day."

Davis explained that in years past, Bones had recommended that civilian employees of the police department wear jeans on Denim Day.

"But this year, Chief Bones has sent out a communication where he's encouraging Boise Police patrol officers to also wear denim on Wednesday. That's a pretty big deal," said Davis.

Additionally, officials at the Idaho National Guard have sent out a formal communication to Guard personnel that denim will be allowed to mark Denim Day. Boise School  Superintendent Dr. Don Coberly has also communicated to his district's personnel that they are more than welcome to wear denim April 24.

Denim Day's call to action continues to point to more legal flashpoints. For example, in November 2018 the lawyer of an Irishman accused of rape cited the lacy underwear worn by the female victim as a sign of her "consent." The 17-year-old victim had been raped in a alleyway in the city of Cork. The 27-year-old suspect was acquitted, and the ruling sparked international outrage.

"All of us really need to be focusing on the dangers of victim-blaming," said Davis.

As with most awareness campaigns, Davis said education is key. Supporters are being urged to post photos of friends, family or coworkers wearing denim, using the hashtags #DenimDay and #WCABoise.
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