Raise Awareness for Sexual Assault

Join us on Wednesday, April 29th for our social media campaign to support the Denim Day movement!

Denim Day began in 1992, after an 18-year-old woman was raped in Italy during her driving lesson. Her driving instructor took her to an isolated road, pulled her out of the car, removed her jeans and had raped her. The case went to court and the conviction was overturned, releasing the perpetrator. The Italian Supreme Court, who then released a statement that argued that because the victim’s jeans were very tight, she would have had to help him remove them, therefore, making it consensual sex and not rape. Furious by the decision, women in the Parliament protested by wearing jeans on the steps of the Supreme Court. This protest inspired many others and resulted in the first ever Denim Day movement in April of 1999. Now an annual event, we hope to use our denim as a meaning of protest against the myths surrounding sexual assault!

The Women’s Center will be having Denim Day as a social media campaign that raises awareness of sexual assault and the dangers of victim-blaming. During the social media campaign, we will be using the hashtag #UMKCDenimDay20. We encourage those at home to wear denim on Wednesday, April 29th and decorate an image of denim to support the Denim Day Movement. For more information about Denim Day visit: https://www.denimdayinfo.org/why-denim.

Why I Care About Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Kyra Charles

Trigger Warning: Mentions of sexual assault and rape.

Rape culture scares me senseless. It’s why I don’t go to parties or drink when I do go to them. It’s why I don’t allow my dates to drive me anywhere. It’s why my grandmother bought me a rape whistle for Christmas, and my mother bought me a taser for my birthday. It’s why when I walk around campus at night, a campus that doesn’t allow pepper spray, I hold my key in my fist, ready to jab it in somebody’s eye. It’s why when I met a group of Ukrainian men while abroad, who harassed me and didn’t listen to my definitive NO, I felt extremely angry.

And I’m still angry. Despite everything #MeToo has done, there’s still an unfulfilled need for accountability from the abusers and justice for the abused. Politicians accused of assault and rape are still in public office. Celebrities like James Franco, who claim to support the victims, have committed assault themselves. Within my own circle, somebody I know who works at competitive dance competitions was shamed by an elderly couple for letting a child wear a costume that showed her stomach. “This is why Me Too happened!” they declared, as if what a child chooses to wear defines the actions of somebody who would try to assault her. It doesn’t.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is relevant, and will remain relevant for every assault victim who feels powerless. Its existence defines the take back of our bodies and our lives. By talking about it we share what consent looks like, why abuse is not okay, and how important it is to believe survivors. So much remains to be done, and we cannot forget that. Decades of hard work and bravery have brought us to a point where we can talk about these issues, and there’s no excuse to back down from it now.

The Women’s Center will be hosting Meet Us On The Street through social media this week. Share our posts and create your own with the hashtag #StopStreetHarassment

We will also be hosting Denim Day online on April 29. Post pictures wearing denim with the hashtag #UMKCDenimDay20 and check our social media to see how you can support the Denim Day movement.

For more information on SAAM, go to: https://www.nsvrc.org/saam



Upcoming Event: Denim Day

By Ann Varner

Since 1999 women around the United States have been participating in Denim Day, however, it did not begin in the United States. Denim Day is a day in April when women and men around the world wear denim as a form of protest to raise awareness of sexual violence.

Why denim?

In 1998 a rape conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court because the court decided that “since the woman’s jeans were on so tight, she had to have helped the man take them off” ergo, it was consensual. When news of this spread women in Italy began to wear denim to work as a form of protest. This year, Denim Day is on April 25 and will be held on the quad. I encourage you to join us for a presentation, a visual display, and free food! Remember to wear your denim as a sign of solidarity that we do not accept victim blaming nor are the clothes we wear any sort of invitation for violence.

Follow this link to learn more about Denim Day.

Denim Drive is open NOW!

click to enlarge

by Thea Voutiritsas

Stop by the Violence Prevention & Response office (Haag Hall 108B) by April 21st to donate denim to be used as a canvas for artwork! You may also donate denim at the Oak Street Residence Hall and the Hospital Hill Residence hall. On Denim Day USA, April 26th, participants will be able to make art with the donated denim to raise awareness about rape culture and sexual assault.

Denim Day is a rape prevention education campaign. We are asking our UMKC community to wear denim on April 26th to make a social statement against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court. In 1992, a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped her rapist remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim. Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day campaign in response to this case and the activism surrounding it.

This event is cosponsored by UMKC Violence Prevention & Response, UMKC Women’s Center, and UMKC Residential Life.

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.

Busy Week at the Women’s Center!

080-cropBy Kacie Otto

It’s been an eventful week at the UMKC Women’s Center! This week, we wrapped Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Denim Day visual displays on the Quad and at the Hospital Hill Residence Hall. We also had a tabling even in the quad where students could decorate denim squares to illustrate their commitment to taking a stand against sexual violence.

We recognize Denim Day because an 18 year old woman was raped by her driving instructor in Italy. He was found to be innocent because the victim’s jeans were too tight for him to have taken them off without assistance. At the Women’s Center, we say this is wrong and that all victims of sexual assault should be listened to and believed. We stand in solidarity with this victim and others by wearing denim to work on April 29.



Coming up tonight, the Her Art project will be at the Crossroads for First Friday. Stop by to create your own ‘Stepping Stone’ Art piece and learn more about empowering women in the Kansas City Art community.

Thank you for all of your support! We’re looking forward to seeing you tonight!

Denim Day

2015-Demin-Day-Drive-Flier-Arzie-editsEviteBy Kemora Williams

Did you know that the month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Do you know what Denim Day is? Well, in Italy during the 1990s an 18 year old girl was raped by her 45 year old driving instructor. The case against the instructor was overturned and dismissed because the Chief Judge argued, “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.”

The women in the Italian Parliament were so upset with the ruling that within hours they took action and protested by wearing jeans to work. In April 1999, the first Denim Day was held in Los Angeles.

For Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in honor of Denim Day, the Women’s Center is hosting a Denim Day Drive for the entire month of April. Join this sexual violence prevention and education campaign and make a social statement by donating used denim to the Women’s Center. The drop off bins for your used denim are located at the Women’s Center, Oak Place Apartments, Johnson Residence Hall, and Oak Street Residence Hall. We’ll re-purpose your old denim by making them into visual displays that bear witness to sexual violence.

Denim Day

by Maritza Gordillo

Denim day is coming soon on April 23 and we ask for everyone to make a social statement by wearing jeans that day! This is a visible means of protest against misconceptions surrounding sexual assault. This event is part of our monthly programs for April because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

image provided by denimdayusa.org

image provided by denimdayusa.org

To give you a reason why you should participate, here is a little history of Denim Day: In the late 1990’s, an 18 year old girl was raped by her 45 year old driving instructor in Italy. She pressed charges and the perpetrator was prosecuted and sentenced to jail. Some time later, he appealed the sentence and the case was taken to the Italian Supreme Court. The judge dismissed the case by stating that “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.” Women in Italy were furious about the verdict and wore jeans as means of protest against this case. This movement spread throughout the world and in 1999, the first Denim Day was born in LA and has continued ever since.

Come by our table on April 23, 2014 from 11am-1pm in the Quad (52nd & Rockhill Rd) to make a statement against sexual assault by participating in decorating a pair of jeans and by wearing them that day too. See you there!

Violence Prevention & Response Project Partner Profile: MOCSA

By Briana Ward.

The Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) is a local organization that partners with the Violence Prevention and Response Project on several programs throughout the year, including V-Day and Take Back the Night.

In 1969, a coalition of criminal justice, health, mental health, and other professionals came together to address the needs of victims of sexual assault. Six years later, that coalition became MOCSA. This organization was dedicated to educating the Kansas City area on sexual assault. Included in this this created a 24/7 hotline for people who are sexually assaulted. Over time MOCSA evolved and began helping child sexual abuse victims and their families. MOCSA now offers therapy, support and advocacy for victims of rape and sexual assault, for sexually abused children and families, for adult survivors of child sexual abuse, and for others touched by sexual violence. Through the years MOCSA has enhanced and increased outreach, prevention and education programs focused on children, youth, professionals and community groups.

  • MOCSA’s Sexual Violence 24-hour Crisis Line: 816-531-0233 or 913-642-0233
  • Missouri Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-392-3738
  • Kansas Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-922-5330
  • Domestic Violence Metro 24-hour Hotline: 816-HOTLINE
  • LGBTQ Violence Kansas City Anti-Violence Project’s Hotline: 816-561-0550
  • Homeless Hotline: 816-474-4599

United Way Resource Line: 2-1-1 (cell) or 866-320-5764 (land line) or United Way 2-1-1 Online

For more information on Violence Prevention and Response Project programs and services, visit us online or “like” us on Facebook.


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Ayomide Aruwajoye


  • 44% of Victims are under the age of 18, 88% percent of victims are under 30
  • Every 2 minutes someone is sexually  assaulted, each year that is about 207,754
  • 54% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, 97% of rapist will never spend a day in jail

Statistics from RAINN, The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.

Every year we hear statistics like this, and just move on with our days like as if nothing happened.

Why is that?

Is the information not shocking enough for you, are the numbers too low for you, or is it an “It could never be me,” scenario that keeps playing in your head?

Every day women are getting abused, used, and thrown away, their left feeling hurt, abandoned, disgraced and alone.

This is a worldwide Epidemic but so many people are blinded by the realization that these things do happen to people we know, people we live by, our classmates, family and friends.

I believe People can make a change!



  • Anti-Street Harassment Week ( April 7th-13th )

SAAM--FLYER-2013Meet us on The Street is a week full of opportunities to tell your community, friends, neighbors, ANY ONE ….that sexual harassment is not okay! Learn more about Anti-Street Harassment at our Sexual Assault Awareness Month information table, Thursday, April 11, Noon – 2 PM in Royall Hall.

For more information, visit www.meetusonthestreet.org.



These behaviors are not okay:

  • Catcalls
  • sexist comments
  • public masturbation
  • groping
  • stalking
  • assault

I want to be able to walk down my street and feel safe!

To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month programs and the Violence Prevention and Response Project, like us on Facebook and follow the Women’s Center on Twitter.