Spreading sexual abuse awareness on Denim Day

Students and faculty gathered to learn about the story of an 18-year-old girl who was raped and the court's decision behind the case. Tables with counseling, self-defense and sexual assault information were set up behind a display of hanging jeans. Jacob Summerville/The Lion's Roar

The Office of Student Advocacy and Accountability partnered with Southeast Advocates for Family Empowerment and Damsel In Defense Corporate to spread information regarding sexual violence and abuse during Denim Day.

The representatives from each organization and office brought awareness to Denim Day on Wednesday, April 25 outside the War Memorial Student Union.

Assistant Director for the OSAA Antoinette Alack explained that the OSAA wanted to remember Denim Day as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

 

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Alack said, “It was about a court case overseas where there was a rapist whose charges were dismissed because the female was wearing very tight jeans, and it was a consensual act because she ‘had to assist him’ to remove the jeans. So, with that act, they thought that it was agreed because she had to assist him with removing her very tight jeans, which is an absurd suggestion.”

Alack explained that, “you shouldn’t have the right to be violated by what you’re wearing.” Freshman biological sciences major Lauren Covington gave her input on the court case.

“I think the case should’ve been looked further into because as an owner of jeans, they are only hard to take off if there’s a belt around it,” said Covington. “The court just saying she could’ve consented just because she was wearing jeans that day sounds completely ridiculous to me.”

The SAFE display had pamphlets that gave information about dating violence, bystander intervention and domestic violence. Damsels In Defense sold pepper spray and self-defense pencil sticks on campus, but they also sell items including stun guns, RFID-blocking wallets and concealed carry purses.

Covington shared that the display with the hanging jeans attracted attention to Denim Day.

“I think people do need to become more aware of their surroundings because if they think it won’t happen to them, it might one day,” said Covington. “My mom taught me to be aware of my surroundings since I was a child, and because of this life lesson, I’ve been aware of how to defend myself my whole life.”

Covington explained an encounter she had with two men at work on April 24 that could have turned dangerous.

“I was in the middle of taking out the trash when I saw two guys walking past the restaurant,” said Covington. “Then, I saw them notice me, and before I knew it, they were walking towards me, and I was speed walking as fast as I could to the front door. Luckily, the front door is usually unlocked if one of us is taking out the trash, so I was able to reach the door before they got to me.”

Covington stated that a male co-worker saw the incident and offered to walk her to her car after their shifts ended. Covington expressed that she is thankful for having people in her life that are protective of her. 

According to Alack, the “Violence Against Women Act was revamped during the Obama administration,” which resulted in an increase of awareness of what resources sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors have on campus. 

Alack shared the several different paths someone can take towards abuse recovery. 

“We have our office,” said Alack. “We have our Title IX office. They can go and report to the health center. They can go to any mandated reporter, which is a faculty member as well. Then, we can connect them to any viable resources on campus, which is the counseling center, our conduct process if they want to seek aggrievance through the university, or they can seek aggrievance through our criminal court system through our UPD as well.”

 

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