Zonta Club and county officials commemorate International Denim Day

  • Courtesy photo Staff of the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office wear denim in support of International Denim Day.

  • Courtesy photo Mayor Mitch Roth wears denim and holds a proclamation in support of International Denim Day.

The Zonta Club of Hilo is joining forces with Mayor Mitch Roth, the County Council and the county Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to promote awareness of International Denim Day as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

This year, Denim Day takes place Wednesday, April 28.

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The movement began in 1999 and was inspired by the women of the Italian Parliament, who wore jeans to work the day after an Italian court overturned the rape conviction of a 45-year-old man who sexually assaulted his 18-year-old driving student. The court based its decision on the student wearing tight jeans and “certainly it is impossible to pull them off if the victim is fighting her attacker with all her force,” determining she helped the perpetrator remove her jeans, and by helping, the sexual act must have been consensual.

Hawaii County Council Resolution 143-19 adopted in 2019 recognizes the fourth Wednesday in April as Denim Day in Hawaii County. The recognition by county government officials is meant to encourage all residents to make a social statement with their fashion statement, wearing jeans in solidarity with survivors and taking a stand against the destructive behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence.

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In the era of the #MeToo movement, there is increasing awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence and the extent to which it is underreported. Denim Day exemplifies how our society can do more to promote respectful behavior and how our justice system can better serve survivors of sexual violence.

For more than a decade, the Zonta Club of Hilo has worked in partnership with the county prosecutor’s office to promote Denim Day on Hawaii Island. The Hilo club is part of Zonta International, a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy projects.

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