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Monday, December 22, 2014

RSVP Center hosts “Denim Day,” in honor of sexual violence awareness month

Denim Day was started in California in April 1999.

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center hosted ‘Denim Day,’ an international celebration meant to educate and prevent sexual violence, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 24.

The RSVP Center has been involved with Denim Day for many years, RSVP volunteer Brenna Catlettstout said.

The center is showing their support by encouraging students and faculty to wear denim, making bracelets out of denim and handing out Denim Day logo pins.

The pins are especially symbolic because there is a lot of meaning behind the color choices and the design of the pin.

The pin shows a pair of jeans coming out of a circle of purple with a red backdrop. It was designed by Maureen Simones, who is majoring in textile and apparel management.

“Denim Day provides a platform for people to discuss issues relating to sexual violence,” said Leecia Sanders, another RSVP volunteer.

According to the handout provided by the RSVP Center along with the pin, the forward movement of the jeans symbolizes the importance of leaving behind the pain and violence for the victim and moving forward with power and strength.

The blue color of the jeans is associated with wisdom and peace, while the red backdrop represents the unwanted pain for the victim. The purple color outlining the circle symbolizes endurance of undesirable situations with inner strength.

“Denim Day is symbolic for a culture that supports and believes in survivors and it has now become a worldwide movement,” RSVP volunteer Mary Bifulco said.

Denim Day began after an Italian Supreme Court ruling from 1999.

In 1992, an 18-year-old woman in Italy was picked up by her male driving instructor and raped on the side of the road. She pressed charges and won.

Soon after, the instructor appealed the case, and it went to the Italian High Court.

In 1999, the court overturned the conviction, arguing that, since the victim was wearing tight jeans, the instructor could not have removed them without the victim’s help. Therefore, the victim must have willingly gave him consent.

The women of the Italian Parliament did not agree with this decision and protested by wearing jeans to work the next day.

Soon, the news spread of the court ruling and so did news of the protest. In April 1999, the state of California established the first Denim Day in the U.S.

Catlettstout said Denim Day is very impactful and important to her.

“It brings awareness to the prevalence of victim blaming and opens up a discussion about the issue at hand,” she said.

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