Emory's Denim Day on April 18 supports ending sexual violence

Emory Report | April 12, 2018

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The Emory community is invited to wear denim on Wednesday, April 18, for Denim Day, an annual event intended to show support for survivors of sexual assault and ending sexual violence.

The Emory community is invited to wear denim on Wednesday, April 18, for Denim Day, an annual event intended to show support for survivors of sexual assault and ending sexual 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 interpersonal violence prevention programs, as well as efforts to create a more survivor-supportive and safe campus community.

To show visible support, 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 (Emory University Respect Program); Twitter @RespectWell; and Instagram @Respect_Program.

After following or tagging, use #EmoryDenimDay to ensure the photos can be seen by the program. The Emory Student Government Association (SGA) will donate $1 for every Denim Day photo received by the Respect Program. Funds raised will be used to support Respect Program initiatives, including prevention education, trainings and outreach for faculty and staff, as well as advocacy and direct support for those impacted by sexual violence.

“We would encourage anyone within the Emory enterprise to participate and show their support for those who have been impacted by interpersonal violence,” says Michele Passonno, assistant director of the Respect Program.

Participants may also request Emory Denim Day buttons and stickers for their classroom, office, department or organization, notes Passonno. Those interested in receiving materials should email respect@emory.edu before Tuesday, April 17. Emory Healthcare employees are encouraged to show support in ways that are consistent with their workplace dress codes.

In conjunction with Denim Day, the Respect Program will be sponsoring Wonderful Wednesday and will have tables, informational materials and photo opportunities at Asbury Circle and the Rollins bridge, among other campus locations. 

The Respect Program offers advocacy services, including a 24-hour support hotline that Emory students can contact for support, accompaniment and/or resources, at 470-270-5360.

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.