UWT Denim Day 2023 Event

International Denim Day brings awareness to sexual assault and gender-based violence.

Content Warning: Sexual Assault and Rape
Photo by Madie Brown | UWT denim Day 2022

International Denim Day is April 26, 2023, and UWT will be hosting its second annual event recognizing this occasion. 

At UWT, the annual Denim Day Awareness Event, facilitated by Madie Brown, UWT Health Promotion Specialist, will take place on April 26, 2023 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in William Phillip Hall (WPH).

“Denim Day is an international awareness day of sexual violence. It seeks to raise awareness of sex and gender-based violence, and educate folks on consent and provide prevention strategies, as well as to just celebrate and empower survivors,” Brown said.

International Denim Day began in 1999 as an event to protest sexual assault and gender-based violence. Today, it serves as a beacon to promote awareness, advocacy and community support to protect survivors. The day has developed into a global symbol of how communities can bond together to prevent harm. The event began in the wake of a 1990s ruling by the Italian Parliament.

In 1992, Italian Parliament convicted a 45-year-old of the rape of an 18-year-old student. The student was enrolled in a driver’s education course that the perpetrator was instructing. Seven years later, in 1999, that same parliament overturned the rape conviction, citing the reason being what the victim was wearing. Italian Parliament concluded the victim must have helped her rapist remove her “tight jeans,” wherein, in the Parliament’s opinion, implied consent for sex. 

With the ruling being overturned, the perpetrator, who was the victim’s driver’s education instructor, was cleared of all charges. The next day, female members of the Italian Parliament wore denim on the Parliament floor to show solidarity with the victim and to protest the ruling. 

Photo by Madie Brown

This act of protest sparked a global response and the International Denim Day movement caught momentum. 26 years later, Denim Day is now a global event used to spread awareness about sexual assault and gender-based violence. 

Brown explains the second annual UWT Denim Day event will host student, school and community organizations in a fair-style event. In addition to hosting denim articles,  organizations will offer information on their programming, upcoming events, ways to get involved and opportunities to meet organization representatives in attendance. 

Attendees will have the option to sign the denim items with words of support to survivors, messages in solidarity of survivors and learn about sexual assault prevention. If they feel comfortable, attendees also have the option to share words and experiences of their own through writing on the denim clothing items. 

Participation in this event is voluntary and welcome to all UWT students, staff and faculty. Brown says attendees are welcome to attend the event to learn about sexual assault prevention, and writing on the denim items is optional. 

“I wanted (to create) something that served students but really had a full community buy-in,” Brown said of creating the UWT Denim Day event.

In addition to the annual campus event, Brown discussed future plans for the UWT Denim Day Event to extend to providing community outreach, survivor support and to be a place to generate ways for the UWT community to actively and sustainably support survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence, while preventing the harm that is perpetrated against them.

If you are a student, school or community organization that would like to participate in the 2023 Denim Day event, you can email Madie Brown at

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, abuse or other gender-based or relationship violence, the UWT confidential advocate is available to offer support, safety planning, resources and to connect survivors with providers if they choose. All services with the advocate are kept confidential and survivors using the service can choose what information they disclose to the advocate. 

The UWT Confidential Advocate can be reached at

Photo by Alexa Christie