Healing Arts: Reclaiming Denim

by Logan Snook

As the semester wraps up, join us on Wednesday, April 27 for some art making to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Denim Day USA.

For 17 years, the Denim Day campaign has worked to educate others in hopes to end destructive attitudes towards sexual assault. Inspired by a true event, Denim Day launched following the sexual assault of an 18-year old in Italy in 1992.

The young woman’s married 45-year old driving instructor took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, wrestled one leg out of her jeans, and forcefully raped by her. With the help of her parents, she pressed charges against her attacker, who was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail. The assailant appealed the sentence, and was released on the argument, “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.”Bloch_Reclaiming-Denim

Women in the Italian parliament were outraged, and protested the verdict by wearing jeans to work. The news made its way to the California Senate and Assembly, who joined in solidarity. It has since become an annual event held on a Wednesday during Sexual Awareness Month in April.

We encourage everyone to wear jeans on this day. From 11:00am – 1:00pm in the UMKC Quad, the Violence Prevention Program, along with the UMKC Women’s Center, invite you to decorate donated jeans with art to show support for survivors of sexual assault. A visual display will be up from 9:00am – 4:00pm in the Quad.

The Violence Prevention Program is hosting a month-long denim drive – donations can be brought to the Denim Day box in 108 Haag Hall.