Tennessee State Acknowledges Denim Day
By Shayla Simmons
Meter Staff Writer
The campus of Tennessee State University in partnership with the Sexual Assault Response Team banded together on April 27 to celebrate Denim Day, an international event meant to bring awareness to victims of sexual assault and “protest the misconceptions that surround sexual assault.” Students were asked to participate by wearing their favorite pair of jeans to show awareness.
The first Denim Day took place April 1999 in Los Angeles, California. The event was created after an 18-year-old Italian girl was forcefully raped by her driving instructor. Though her rapist was initially convicted for his heinous crime, the appeals eventually reached the Italian Supreme Court. Here the judged overturned and dismissed the charges because “the victim wore very tight jeans”. This element led the judge to believe that no rape took place because the victim must have helped her rapist take off her jeans, thus making what took place consensual.
After the sentence was overruled, women of the Italian Parliament protested by showing up to work in jeans the following day. Eventually, the news spread and seventeen years later, the event has become larger than ever.
Tennessee State University participated by taking a school-wide oath. Students, faculty and alumni all gathered in the courtyard where each promised to stand by victims of sexual assault and take their word if chosen to be a confidant. Participants then released balloons into the sky to represent victims of sexual assault and commemorate the occasion.
“I thought it was a good way for the campus to come together and bring awareness to something that has proven to be a problem across college campuses everywhere. Since TSU recognized this day, I feel like there is hope for a better, safer campus and future,” said Timia Porter, freshman business administration major.