Pollock Residence Life wears denim to show support for sexual assault survivors

April 19, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK Pa. — Pollock Halls in Penn State Residence Life will be taking a stand against sexual assault on April 24 by participating in Denim Day, a day to honor survivors and raise awareness.

According to its website, the Denim Day campaign was established in 1999 after the Italian Supreme Court ruled that a rape conviction be overturned, it said, because the victim’s jeans were too tight when the assault took place, thereby implying her consent.

The campaign invites everybody to wear jeans on this day as a visible sign of protest of the misconceptions surrounding sexual violence and, “to make a social statement with their fashion statement.”

This year Pollock Residence Life Coordinator Meghan Santamaria will be leading the Day of Denim, hoping that in the future the event will spread throughout campus and the Commonwealth.

“It's important for Penn State to participate in an event like this, because it shows that Penn State does not stand for victim-blaming and will support survivors of sexual misconduct,” Santamaria said.

The Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response (OSMPR), The Gender Equity Center, The University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) and Stand for State, have all been invited to participate in the day’s events.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. students can visit Pollock Commons and learn about Denim Day and its importance. Each department and organization will be there to educate students on sexual misconduct and how their specific programming directly relates to sexual misconduct prevention at Penn State. 

Fellow Big 10 schools Rutgers, Illinois State University, Iowa State University and Indiana University will also be participating in the Day of Denim.

Students will have the opportunity to pledge their support for sexual assault survivors by signing a poster which will be hung in the commons, or by taking a Denim Day laptop sticker, which will also be given out.

The denim campaign, run by Peace Over Violence, takes place in April, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and since its establishment has become a symbol of protest, and a show of support for survivors, and an opportunity for education.

“Denim Day helps students understand that sexual assault can happen to anyone and it does not depend on how they look or what they wear. It is a further reminder that ‘no means no’ and consent must be given before a sexual act can take place,” Santamaria said.

Penn State strongly encourages survivors of any form of violence to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if they personally feel no injury was sustained. Visit the Student Affairs website for more information on how to make a report, and for medical resources, victim and survivor support and advocacy, and more.

Last Updated April 19, 2019