HAMPTON, Va. (May 1, 2020) – For the 8th consecutive year, Hampton University faculty and staff participated in the national observance of Denim Day on Wednesday, April 29, calling attention to Sexual Assault Awareness. Sponsored by the HU Title IX Office, the HU Community wore jeans in support of sexual assault survivors everywhere. As the campus is practicing social distancing due to COVID-19, the decision was made to hold the annual campaign virtually.
“Hampton University is proud to be part of Denim Day annually. Every year we show our support for sexual awareness by wearing a teal ribbon, which is a visible sign of protest against the destructive attitudes towards sexual assault. Attorney Kelly Harvey-Viney had the vision to adjust how we observe Denim Day this year because of COVID-19 by having departments submit group photos that we made into a campus wide collage,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President.
For 21 years, the California organization called Peace Over Violence (POV) has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April to raise awareness about sexual assault. The campaign was originally triggered by a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where 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, therefore 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 it generated. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against erroneous attitudes and misconceptions about sexual assault.
At Hampton University, this ongoing education, awareness and prevention campaign is sponsored in the spring by the Title IX Office. This year’s virtual campaign had the highest participation to date.
“I am so proud of the virtual engagement we received from our committed faculty and staff,” said Harvey-Viney. “Each year the Hampton University community shows up to support the ongoing educational efforts of the Title IX Office. This year was especially unique with the campus practicing proper social distancing techniques, however that did not stop our momentum, or prevent us from having a large number of participants.”