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Mayor Tom Barrett leads Denim Day Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Mayor Tom Barrett kicked off Denim Day Milwaukee on Wednesday, April 24th. Denim Day is a local celebration that is part of an international effort to support victims of sexual assault and raise awareness for victim-blaming behavior.

The gathering brought together many of the individuals behind the month-long Persons of Influence social media campaign, in which more than 100 individuals wore jeans and offered statements of support in honor of survivors of sexual assault.

Denim Day began in 1999 after an Italian woman was raped by her driving instructor. The perpetrator was convicted, but the sentence was overturned because the Italian Supreme Court determined that because the victim’s jeans were tight, she must have removed them herself, and the assault was then consensual sex. The verdict motivated women and men throughout Italy – and eventually Europe and the U.S. – to dedicate a day to wearing jeans and highlighting misconceptions surrounding sexual assault.