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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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Dress to address

Students clad in denim will gather in support of sexual assault victims in Rudder Plaza Wednesday.
The event, called “Denim Day,” started as a result of a case held in an Italian Supreme Court in the 1990s involving an 18-year-old woman who was reportedly raped by her driving instructor. After pressing charges, he was convicted of the crime but appealed his sentence, and the case climbed all the way to the Italian Supreme Court.
The case was eventually overturned and the man was released. An argument made by the Italian Chief Judge was, “Because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
In support of the victim, the women in the Italian Parliament protested the verdict by wearing jeans to work following the court decision. News of the case travelled to the California Senate and Assembly, who then participated in the protest. From there the protest reached Patricia Giggans, executive director of Peace Over Violence, a female activist organization, and “Denim Day” was officially created in April 1999.
Amanda Gomez, sociology sophomore and president of Student Anti-Violence Educators, the student organization hosting A&M’s Denim Day, said she hopes this event will teach people about the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault.
“What my organization is doing is opening this up to talk about what biases do we have talking about victims of rape or sexual assault, because a lot of the time we find ourselves victim blaming and not even realizing it,” Gomez said.
 Katie Kimball, international studies sophomore, said she is glad Denim Day is bringing the topic to students’ attention, because it has become common for people to blame someone based on what they were wearing.
“I have friends that say, ‘You shouldn’t be wearing that,’ ‘Don’t get raped,’ or ‘If you wear that you’ll be attacked,’” Kimball said. “I think [Denim Day] will make people think more about the issue at hand … A girl should be able to wear whatever she wants without having to be worried about getting raped.”
The Sexual Assault Resource Center of Brazos Valley, a community program that works with organizations on campus, like Feminists for Reproductive Equity and Education, Disabilities Services, Not On My Campus, SHARE, the Women’s Resource Center, works to ensure victims on campus are supported. Tracey Calanog, the program director of SARC, said she believes that Denim Day has created a sense of community for sexual assault victims through activism.
“It’s become this symbol of protest to really look at the crisis that goes on when someone is sexually assaulted. So when they wear denim and stand in solidarity it’s focused on ‘I’m standing against this and this is not okay,’” Calanog said.
SARC has a 24-7 hotline that is opened to anybody. The hotline number is 979-731-1000.
Denim Day will take place in Rudder Plaza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.          

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