This is likely the only New York City rally where rocking head-to-toe denim is not only welcomed, it’s encouraged.
Dozens of people poured into Foley Square Wednesday to mark the global sexual assault awareness campaign known as Denim Day.
Activists marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, while others took the ferry over from Staten Island, the denim-clad crowd converging in Manhattan for a rally that included impassioned speeches from survivors of sexual assault as well as Borough President Gale Brewer and other elected officials.
“Denim Day is a call to action for us all,” Brewer said. “All survivors of sexual violence must be given support, compassion, and a full and fair hearing — not the ignorance, thoughtlessness and shaming that all too often occurs instead.”
Launched in 1999, Denim Day was created in response to an Italian Supreme Court justice who overturned a rape conviction, arguing that the victim’s jeans were so tight that she must have helped her attacker remove them, which implied consent.
The theme for this year’s NYC rally was #whatyoucando and #whatyoucansay, which aimed to give survivors of sexual assault a voice.
One in five women and one in 59 men report being raped in their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Through increased awareness of sexual assault, empowering survivors by putting an end to victim blaming, enacting stronger laws to protect survivor rights, and investing additional resources towards their full recovery, I am hopeful that we will continue to transform the culture around sexual assault and end the criminalization of victims, instead of their perpetrators,” City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, who is an organizer of the annual NYC event, said.