Kalamazoo College students, faculty and staff are invited to participate in National Denim Day on Wednesday, April 27, to support survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence.
The Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy will provide information from the Kalamazoo YWCA, the College’s Counseling Center, Planned Parenthood and the Sexual Peer Educator Alliance at Kalamazoo College (SPEAK), in addition to resources on victim services and Title IX, from 6:15 to 7 p.m. on the Quad. At that time, people who have been touched by sexual violence are invited to participate in the Clothesline Project by decorating a t-shirt. The t-shirts become visual displays of expression and bearing witness.
Then, hear stories of survivorship from gender-based violence through survivors and allies in a Take Back the Night Speakout. Anyone interested can join the rally at the Quad, and throughout the day, Instagram users are encouraged to share pictures of themselves wearing denim using #DenimDayatK and by following SPEAK’s account @kc_s.p.e.a.k.
The events are sponsored by the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy. Learn more about its efforts during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, at sexualsafety.kzoo.edu.
Denim Day started in 1999 when Patricia Giggans, a Los Angeles-based activist and executive director of Peace Over Violence, responded to an Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction. The court ruled that an 18-year-old woman who brought rape charges against a 45-year-old driving instructor must have consented to the assault because her jeans were tight. In other words, it was assumed that the assailant could not have removed her jeans without her help.
The absurdity of the decision prompted women in the Italian Parliament to wear jeans the next day to stand in solidarity with the survivor. Although the ruling was ultimately overturned, the annual Denim Day campaign has continued to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence.
For more on National Denim Day, visit the Peace Over Violence website.