Join Emory for virtual Denim Day on April 22

Emory Report | April 15, 2020

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Emory students, faculty and staff are encouraged to wear denim on Wednesday, April 22, for Denim Day, an annual event intended to show support for ending sexual violence. Although the event won't be in person as in previous years, the Emory community can still show support.

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Members of the Emory community are invited to participate in Denim Day on April 22 to show support for survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence.

Emory Denim Day is an initiative of the university’s Office of Respect, a Campus Life initiative that seeks to support survivors and serve as a central hub for sexual and interpersonal violence prevention programs, as well as efforts to create a more survivor-supportive campus community.

Although this year’s event will be held virtually, participants are encouraged to take photos of themselves and others wearing denim and send the photos to the Office of​ Respect (respect@emory.edu). You can also post photos on the Office of Respect’s social media accounts: Facebook (Emory University the Office of Respect), Twitter (@RespectWell) and Instagram (@office_of_respect). Include the hashtag #EmoryDenimDay to ensure that others see your support.

The Student Government Association and Graduate Student Government Association help collaborate on the event. The GSGA will donate $1 for every person in Denim Day photos received by the Office of Respect. 

Denim Day was launched in 1999 by Patricia Giggins, a Los Angeles-based activist and executive director of Peace Over Violence, in response to an Italian Supreme Court decision that overturned a rape conviction. The court ruled in 1999 that the 18-year-old woman who brought the rape charges must have consented to the assault because her jeans were tight, so it was assumed that the assailant could not have removed them without her help.

The absurdity of the decision prompted women in the Italian Parliament to wear jeans the next day to stand in solidarity with the survivor. Although the ruling was ultimately overturned, Peace Over Violence has continued the annual Denim Day campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault and violence.

What began as a grassroots movement in 1999 has spread worldwide; more than 10 million people participated in Denim Day 2019, according to the Denim Day website. The official day of observance this year is April 29. Emory, which has observed Denim Day for years, will commemorate the occasion a week earlier.