Rape Jeans

Stop victim-blaming when rape occurs (property of Peace Over Violence)

For her senior service project, McKenna Nerone of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin decided to so something a little different. And it was something many students her age likely never considered.

To raise awareness about rape, Nerone is joining Denim Day USA on April 24th and collecting jeans. which will then be used to represent rape statistics.

“Every two minutes in America, someone is raped,” she said recently. And when Nerone did the math, she figured that 1,050 rapes occur within each school week.

So she’s collecting 1,050 pairs of jeans to visually illustrate this statistic later this month.

“It’s one thing to say 1,050 people are victims. I think it says something different to actually see what that means in a different form.”

Denim Day USA began in 1999 as a protest to an earlier ruling by an Italian court. In this particular case, a teenage rape victim’s attacker went free because the tight jeans she was wearing supposedly indicated her consent.

In other words, she was asking for it. Why else would she wear jeans that were painted on?


If you ask me, Nerone should be commended for her civic responsibility and altruism. Rape is a serious issue in this country and around the world, as evidenced by recent news of girls being raped on buses in the Middle East, tourists being gang raped in Mexico and endless others that go unreported.

McKenna Nerone (property of M. Nerone)

However, I must confess that when I first heard this story, I thought she was wearing a pair of jeans emblazoned with all kinds of rape statistics—like the fact that 80% of rape victims are under the age of 30; or 54% of all sexual assaults are never reported; or two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone the victim knows.

I’m sure jeans like that would cause quite a stir, but it’s likely the accompanying controversy would distract from the message. I much prefer Nerone’s approach.

And I’m not the only one.

Nerone’s project led others in nearby Milwaukee to establish a Denim Day Milwaukee page on Facebook, where anyone interested is welcome to donate to this worthy cause. Check it out here.

There are also businesses in the Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Greendale, Brookfield and Waukesha communities where locals can donate to Nerone’s Share-A-Pair effort. Please consider dropping by one of them if you live in the area and have some old jeans to spare!

Posted on April 7, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Very Cool story, inventive young lady. I hope her project is a big success.

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