By Wausau Pilot and Review staff

On Wednesday, millions of people across the world including residents of Marathon County will wear jeans with a purpose: to support survivors and educate others about all forms of sexual violence.

Denim Day, launched 21 years ago by Peace Over Violence, is held each year during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and is a powerful opportunity to practice solidarity and support survivors by renewing personal commitments to expose harmful behaviors and attitudes surrounding sexual violence.

The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned after justices believed the victim, who wore tight jeans, implied consent by helping her attacker remove her jeans. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim.

Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement. As the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual violence.

United Way of Marathon County will participate in Denim Day from a safe social distance this year to support victims of sexual violence, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

Top photo courtesy of United Way of Marathon County