Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson hosted a Bronx Denim Day march last week to show solidarity with those affected by sexual assault and to amplify inequities experienced by marginalized communities. 

“We stand with survivors of sexual assault, of gender-based violence, of domestic violence, of elder abuse, of intimate partner violence, and we show them the love that each of them deserve,”  said Gibson on the steps of Bronx Borough Hall.

Gibson and various advocates were present for the first Denim Day march in New York City back in 2010. Clad in denim, they gathered to commemorate worldwide women-led protests that were sparked when an Italian court granted the appeal of a rapist and overturned his sentence in 1999. The judge said the victim was wearing tight jeans, insinuating that she was complicit. Italian women began showing up to work wearing denim jeans and other attire to support survivors of sexual assault. Now the last Wednesday of every April is also known as Denim Day.

“It hurts. I take this very personally as a woman and a woman of color,” said Gibson, speaking about a resident who was recently found stabbed fatally in her apartment.

Gibson said that each year, the gathering gets bigger, galvanizing more support and resources for survivors. She added that statistically, the Bronx has the highest rates of not only domestic violence incidents but homicides, which unfortunately affect women and women of color the most. 

“We remind everyone out there that victims don’t have to be victims forever. You are a part of the future,” said Gibson. “And we want to remind anyone out there who is in a dangerous relationship with a partner that love should never hurt. There are ways to get out.” 

Gibson was joined by city agency representatives, school groups, local organizations, violence interrupters, and sexual assault survivors. “Not all sources of violence are gun violence. We have to show support,” said one Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) violence interrupter during the march. 

Participants marched together from Bronx Borough Hall to the Bronx Museum of the Arts and back. Afterward, the rally moved to a reception in the building, where speakers, food, and performers were featured. 

Kajori Chaudhuri, deputy commissioner of the Community Relations Bureau for the NYC Commission on Human Rights, emphasized that the city’s “civil rights arm” protects survivors and sexual assault victims under the law from being discriminated against in housing and employment spaces. Clothing, in particular, is considered an extension of other protected categories, she said.

“It’s really important for everyone to be visible and to talk about these issues. They exist, we know they do, and there’s no shame around it,” said Chaudhuri. “It’s important everybody speaks out.”

For more information about how to report discrimination, how to file a complaint, or the complaint process, call 311 or 212-416-0197.

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting

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