University’s Denim Day Sheds Light on Sexual Assault

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Published April 24, 2019
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The Montclarion
Student Volunteers Zhane Kelling, Laura Carrillo and Neslihan Turan pose with Rocky the Red Hawk at the Denim Day table in the Student Center. Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion

Like any regular day, you put your favorite pair of denim jeans on, not thinking of what they represent or mean. However, today your pair of denim jeans mean much more than style. This Wednesday, jeans were a fight against sexual assault and violence.

Denim day is a global campaign celebrated all around the world following the 1999 court case ruling in Rome of the rape of an 18-year-old girl. The case which received international media coverage followed the conviction and release of a 45-year-old driving instructor who was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

The case, which resulted in the perpetrator being prosecuted and released based on a statement from the court, argued that because the victim wore very tight jeans and had to help the accused remove them, it was no longer rape but consensual sex. The case has since become a symbol of awareness for sexual assault.

Student volunteers speak to visitors about sexual assault at a Denim Day table outside of Harry A. Sprague Library.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion

Montclair State University campus organizations, the Office of Health Promotion and the Office for Social Justice and Diversity, stand in support of the global prevention and educational movement called Denim Day.

Information tables located in the Student Center, Student Recreation Center and the Harry A. Sprague Library were filled with brochures, signs, T-shirts and pins provided by the university organizations. Volunteers welcomed passing students, and visitors spoke to individuals at the tables about the significance of Denim Day.

Student volunteer Laura Carrillo, a sophomore business administration major, expressed her support for the daylong table event.

“I am happy to be volunteering and bringing awareness to our campus about sexual assault,” Carrillo said. “I want this table event today to encourage someone who may have experienced some form of sexual assault to know that there are resources and a community of people on campus who are here for them.”

Students approached representatives dressed in “Ask me why I’m wearing denim” shirts.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion

The Denim Day tables — with Rocky the Red Hawk present — encouraged all to spread the word and use social media to take part in the daylong table event.

Salina Lostan, a junior economics major and a visitor of the table, voiced her experience visiting the Denim Day tables.

“I felt so comfortable seeing students talking and bringing awareness about a culture that often goes unreported,” Lostan said. “This table is a safe place for someone victimized by this culture to seek help and find campus resources.”

Students learn about the global campaign during Denim Day on April 24.
Tiffany Baskerville | The Montclarion

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