Photos & story by students in COMM 1316/News Photography
From a distance, it looks a little like halloween came early inside the Student Center on South Plains College’s Levelland campus. Dozens of pairs of jeans–skirts, men’s, women’s, skinny, cut offs – dangle in rows from the ceiling.
But on closer look, it’s obvious there’s a message.
The jeans are all part of the 24th annual Denim Day display. Wednesday, April 26, is national Denim Day. Organizers say millions of people across the world will wear jeans as a symbol of protest against all forms of sexual violence.
According to denimday.org, the origins of Denim Day date back to an Italian court case in 1992 in which an 18-year-old woman was raped. The website explains, “A statement from the Court argued that because the victim was wearing very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was not rape but consensual sex.”
Denim Day has become a violence prevention and education campaign aimed at protesting erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape.
Joanna Perez, an SPC counselor, says Denim Day tables will be set up in the Student Center on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where organizers will ask people to sign pledges.
“Everybody that comes to the table,” Perez says, “will take a pledge to be aware of sexual assault and speak up when needed to be comfortable saying ‘this is not what I want.’”
In addition to signing pledges, people will be asked to sign some jeans that will be put up in next year’s display.
What Perez wants people to know is, when it comes to sexual violence, it’s OK to speak up.
“A lot of times victims have a hard time speaking up,” she says. “If you’re a victim, a friend, advocate, speak up. It’s important.”