Public art project part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month
What: Denim Days: Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)
Who: Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness student group
When: Wednesday, January 20
Where: Fipke Centre, UBC Okanagan campus
Wearing jeans to work is often associated with casual Friday, but a group of students at UBC’s Okanagan campus is promoting Denim Day for a much deeper reason.
UBC’s Sexual Assault and Rape Awareness (SARA) group is organizing its second-annual Denim Day — students, faculty, and staff at the university are encouraged to wear denim to campus on Wednesday, January 20 as support for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).
It’s a simple statement of solidarity and support, explains SARA founder Lauren Gaudet.
Denim Days started after an Italian court overturned a rape charge, in 1998, because the victim was wearing tight jeans. The ruling stated that because the victim's jeans were tight, she had to have helped remove them and as a result gave consent to her attacker. Enraged, people around the world launched into protest, and showed support for the victim by wearing denim to their places of work, explains Gaudet.
UBC Okanagan Denim Day activities, led by UBC students Lea Sebastianis and Varenka Kim, take place in the Fipke Centre foyer from 11:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. People are encouraged to wear denim to show support and solidarity against sexual and gender-based violence. Activities include a community engagement art project and people are asked to bring old denim that can be painted and decorated. The pieces will then be hung for the rest of the UBC community to see.
“Art is a medium where individuals have the ability to express themselves and engage with topics surrounding sexual and gender-based violence,” says Gaudet, who graduated from UBC last year with a master’s in Social Work. “The artistic process allows for a dialogue to be had without having to engage verbally — a process that can be extremely difficult for most individuals.”
A group photo with participants wearing denim will take place at 3:30 p.m. in the foyer.
“Please wear your denim on January 20,” says Gaudet, “and stand with us in solidarity against sexual and gender-based violence.”
To find out more about Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month at UBC Okanagan, visit: students.ok.ubc.ca/saam