The Greek organizations at the University of La Verne came together to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault and rape for Denim Day Wednesday in Fasnacht Court.
Denim Day became an internationally recognized event 16 years ago after the Italian Supreme Court overturned the rape conviction of a man who claimed that his victim’s jeans were so tight, he needed help to take them off – which he argued implied consent.
After this ruling in the late 1990s, women in the Italian Parliament wore denim jeans to stand in solidarity with the victim.
The La Verne Greek community partnered with Project Sister Family service, a rape crisis center in Pomona.
“Denim Day is … to raise awareness of sexual assault and the myths and misconceptions of rape,” said Sophia Lopez, outreach services coordinator for Project Sister. “Clothes can never equal consent. They never can and never will.”
Project Sister provides crisis intervention, community outreach programs, presentations against sexual assault, and self-defense workshops.
Buttons and stickers with sayings such as “jeans that are tight, don’t make it right” and denim ribbons were passed around during the event.
Students were made pledges, writing notes such as “no means no” and “stop victim blaming.”
“So many people are affected by sexual assault, and it’s crazy how we don’t really talk about it,” said senior biology major Evelyn Bobbitt.
Lopez said she belies talking about rape makes people uncomfortable. The victims are blamed for their choice of drinking, attending a party or in this case, their choice of clothing.
“No one should ever be judged on what they’re wearing, especially (related to) sexual assault,” said Jose Serra, president of Sigma Alpha Epsion and one of the event coordinators.
“(These events are) important, because they help unify students and fight against domestic violence, assault and rape,” said senior English major Jessica Loomer. “It helps bring awareness to other people who haven’t experienced this in their daily life.”
Lopez emphasized that women are not the only victims of sexual violence.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, men make up about 10 percent of sexual assault victims.
“It’s really important that we become supportive as a culture and put the blame where it belongs — on the rapists,” Lopez said.
Deonah Cendejas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.