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Wear denim April 19 to raise awareness of interpersonal violence

Emory Report | April 12, 2017

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Emory’s annual Denim Day is Wednesday, April 19. Everyone in the Emory community is urged to wear denim to show support for survivors of sexual assault and the larger goal of ending interpersonal violence.

Emory’s annual Denim Day is Wednesday, April 19. Everyone in the Emory community is urged to wear denim to show support for survivors of sexual assault and the larger goal of ending interpersonal violence.

Denim Day is an initiative of Emory's Respect Program, which seeks to support survivors and raise funds for the program, which serves as a central hub for sexual and relationship violence prevention programs, as well as efforts to create a more survivor-supportive campus community.

This year, everyone is encouraged to take photos of themselves and others wearing denim and send the photos to the Respect Program at respect@emory.edu. You can also tag the Respect Program on social media through Facebook; Twitter @RespectWell; and Instagram @Respect_Program.

After following or tagging, use #EmoryDenimDay to ensure the photos can be seen by the program. The Student Government Association will donate $1 for every Denim Day photo received by the Respect Program.

"We will be at Wonderful Wednesday, Barnes and Noble Starbucks and are awaiting confirmation from a few other campus spots," says Michele Passonno, assistant director of the Respect Program. "If you want official Emory Denim Day buttons and stickers for your office/members, email respect@emory.edu by Monday, April 17 and let us know how many folks are in your dept/team/organization." 

"The funds for this year will continue to fund Respect Program initiatives including prevention education, trainings and outreach for students and faculty/staff and our advocacy and direct service in supporting those who have been impacted by interpersonal violence," says Passonno.

The Respect Program has advocacy services, now offering a 24-hour support hotline that Emory students can contact for support, accompaniment and/or resources. That telephone number is: 470-270-5360.

"We look forward to seeing the Emory campus community wear jeans on April 19th to show support for sexual assault survivors," Passonno says.

Denim Day is supported by a variety of groups across Emory representing students, faculty and staff. It is sponsored by the SGA and Emory Graduate Student Government Association and is organized by the Respect Program in partnership with Emory Healthcare, Sexual Assault Peer Advocates, the Intimate Partner Violence Working Group and the Faculty Staff Assistance Program.

The event is part of a national campaign sponsored by Peace Over Violence. The campaign was sparked by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court overturning a rape conviction because the justices believed that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove them, implying consent. Women in the Italian Parliament came to work the next day wearing jeans to show support for the victim.

Though the original conviction was finally reinstated in 2008, Denim Day has continued as a protest against misconceptions surrounding sexual assault.