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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Clad in denim, Aggies spread awareness of victim blaming

Dmitri+Westbrook%2C+Anne+Nemec%2C+Devon+McLendon%2C+and+Alexis+Fojtik+work+the+Denim+Day+booth+to+raise+awareness+of+sexual+assault%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd
Dmitri Westbrook, Anne Nemec, Devon McLendon, and Alexis Fojtik work the Denim Day booth to raise awareness of sexual assault
 

As sexual assault awareness month comes to a close, Aggies dressed in denim took a stand against victim blaming Wednesday.

Student Anti-Violence Educators, SAVE, teamed up with the Sexual Assault Research Center to host Denim Day, an event dedicated to raising awareness against the act of blaming a sexual assault victim for the crime.

The event displayed pairs of jeans laid out with phrases written on them such as, “Not asking for it,” “Jeans that are tight don’t make it right,” and “Break the silence.” 

Passersby could also stop to take pictures in front of a banner, which included hashtags about Denim Day and #TurnTexasTeal, aimed at reducing sexual assaults in Texas. 

Amanda Gomez, president of SAVE and sociology sophomore, said she believes victim blaming is a relevant issue for all students. Gomez said Denim Day recognizes a court case from the 1990s in which a 45-year old driving instructor was convicted of sexually assaulting an 18-year old girl in Rome. The Italian Supreme Court overturned the decision, however, because the victim “wore tight jeans” — implicating because her jeans were so tight, she must have helped remove them herself and made the assault consensual. 

“People were appalled about that court case that Denim Day recognizes, and what they don’t realize is that a lot of similar things happen now,” Gomez said. “That case happened in the 90s and maybe we don’t talk about jeans anymore, but people do talk about the length of a woman’s skirt, how much a victim was drinking — so there are different forms of it that have come up. We have had questions about more contemporary examples of victim blaming.”

Over the past 17 years since Denim Day started, it has become a global event that over 100 countries and 11 million people participate in. Cynthia Tomaselli, English freshman, has participated in Denim Day for the past two years and said she believes it is important to have an event like Denim Day on college campuses. 

“Not a lot of people know this, but there are so many sexual assaults that go unreported on college campuses, especially because of the media aspect of it,” Tomaselli said. “A lot people blame the victim and I don’t think that’s right. So I think it’s great that we have awareness and that it’s okay to speak out. We need to teach people the harmful effects that it causes and what we can do to help.”

Britni Soto is the communications and events manager for Peace Over Violence, the activist organization that began Denim Day.

“We wear jeans everyday, but you’re not just making a fashion statement — you’re making a social statement,” Soto said, “Everyone is doing it to spread this message that there is no excuse for rape. It’s more than wearing jeans.”

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