HAMPTON, Va. (June 5, 2019) –For the 7th year in a row, Hampton University faculty, staff and students participated in the national observance of Denim Day on Wednesday, April 24, calling attention to Sexual Assault Awareness. Sponsored by Attorney Kelly Harvey-Viney and the HU Title IX Office, the HU Student Health Center, the HU Police Department, the HU Student Counseling Center, the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute and the City of Hampton Victim Services Unit, the HU community wore jeans in support of sexual assault survivors everywhere.
“Hampton University is proud to be part of Denim Day. Every year we show our support for sexual awareness by forming the ribbon, which is a visible sign of protest against the destructive attitudes towards sexual assault,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
For 20 years, the California organization, Peace Over Violence (POV), has held its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), to raise awareness about sexual assault. The campaign was originally triggered by a 1998 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. POV 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 remonstration against erroneous attitudes and misconceptions about sexual assault.
Students from Young Adults Advocating Change, a volunteer student organization on campus that deals with social injustices, were in the Student Center handing out ribbons and bracelets for Denim Day. “We wear denim to represent sexual assault awareness. We are handing out ribbons, bracelets, candy, pamphlets and offering support to sexual assault survivors,” said Isaiah Barlow, junior, marketing major.
At Hampton University, this ongoing education, awareness and prevention campaign is sponsored in the spring by the Title IX Office. It is an event that brings everyone together to form the annual human awareness ribbon. This year, supporters assembled in the Student Center making their presence known by wearing jeans, teal awareness ribbons and bracelets for a show of unity and a steadfast commitment against sexual assault and abuse on campus.
"I am so proud of the engaged and committed faculty and staff members who show up every year to support the ongoing education efforts of the Title IX Office. They are our foot soldiers who help raise awareness about sexual assault and its prevention all over campus,” said Kelly Harvey-Viney, Director of the Hampton University Center for Public Policy and Title IX Coordinator.