Denim Day: Supporting Survivors of Sexual Assault
By Marie Jacinto
People around the world wear denim on Denim Day, a campaign held in April each year for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, in solidarity and support of survivors of sexual assault. Denim Day 2023 is Wednesday, April 26, and UHD Title IX/Equal Opportunity Officer Lauri Ruiz wants our campus community to know that not only is it okay for staff and faculty to wear jeans on that day, it is encouraged!
“First and foremost, it is of paramount importance that UHD employees and students know that if they witness or receive any information regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic abuse, or stalking committed by or against a UHD student or UHD employee,” stated Ruiz, “they should reach out to me at 713-221-5771 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Employees are actually required to report incidents to me promptly.”
For Denim Day, Ruiz and University Relations have made flyers available for departments and divisions to post to show their support of survivors of sexual assault. “I’d love to see the entire campus community in denim on April 26! It is such a meaningful way to build awareness,” said Ruiz.
What’s the significance of wearing denim? This campaign began after a 1992 ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that consent was implied since the victim was wearing tight jeans. 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 surrounding it. Since then, what started as a local campaign to bring awareness to victim blaming and destructive myths that surround sexual violence has grown into a movement. As the longest running sexual violence prevention and education campaign in history, Denim Day asks community members, elected officials, businesses, and students to make a social and fashion statement by wearing jeans on this day.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.