The Daily Eastern News

Denim Day: Students to raise awareness about sexual assault

Logan Raschke, News Editor

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Student government encourages everyone to sport their best denim attire Wednesday in honor of Denim Day.

Nia Douglas, a senior majoring in family and consumer sciences and the chair of student government’s Student Affairs Committee, said student senators, and hopefully the rest of the school, will walk around campus dressed in denim to support sexual assault awareness.

She said student senators will pass out stickers to those done up in denim and educate them about the importance of the day.

The Denim Day campaign has been raising awareness of sexual assault for the past 20 years now; it began after the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction all because of what the victim was wearing, according to Denim Day Info.

The victim was wearing tight jeans when she was sexually assaulted, and the justices believed that in order for the assaulter to have raped her, the victim must have removed her jeans. Using this logic, the Italian Supreme Court believe she must have given implied consent, according to the website.

Since then, Peace Over Violence has been running the global campaign every year, effectively turning denim jeans into a symbol for sexual assault awareness.

The Italian Supreme Court hearing, Douglas said, is one that really puzzled her.

“I’m not understanding how (the tightness of) my jeans automatically means I’m consenting to something because that’s just like saying, oh, because I wore a short skirt that I consented to (someone) touching me … that doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “It makes me question where people’s minds are and also lets me know that these people really don’t care.”

Douglas said the ruling is a clear indication that in recent years, people are still getting away with sexual assault and rape.

Douglas alluded to an even more recent example of sexual assault with no just conviction—People v. Turner.

In 2016, Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in prison and three years’ probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. He only served three months in prison.

Turner tried to appeal to overturn his sexual assault conviction, his lawyer claiming he simply wanted “outercourse,” as The New York Times reported in 2018, but was denied by California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal.

The justices reiterated that even though he did not expose himself or rape the victim, he was still “interrupted” when he penetrated the victim digitally, and he would have likely tried to rape her if he was not interrupted, according to court records.

Douglas said situations like these are a prime reason Denim Day and sexual assault awareness are important.

“If these people are getting away with doing these things and the victim is being blamed for the clothing that they have on, then less people are going to speak up and more people are going to get away with it, and that’s why we need to bring this awareness,” she said.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at[email protected].

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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.
Denim Day: Students to raise awareness about sexual assault