Iowa State will host a series of events in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) throughout April.
This year events were organized by Green Dot and the central theme of the month-long acknowledgement is Denim Day 2019.
According to Green Dot’s website for SAAM, Denim Day is a yearly campaign put on by Peace Over Violence for 20 years.
According to Denim Day’s website, in 1992 a 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by her driving instructor. The victim reported the assault to authorities and the perpetrator was convicted and sentenced to jail.
Years later, the perpetrator appealed his conviction, claiming he and the 18-year-old woman had consensual sex.
The appeal was heard by the Italian Supreme Court where the Court overturned the conviction due to the victim wearing tight jeans, implying she helped her perpetrator take off her tight clothing, which also implied consent.
Following the ruling, women working within the Italian Parliament came to work in jeans, standing in solidarity with the victim.
The protest was picked up by international media and inspired the women within the California Assembly and Senate to have their own denim-wearing protest on the steps of California State Capitol in Sacramento.
Following the protest in Sacramento, Peace Over Violence developed the Denim Day LA campaign, which was held in Los Angeles in April 1999.
The event had continued a designated Wednesday during the month of April and wearing denim jeans on the designated Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against sexual harassment, abuse, assault and rape.
This year’s Denim Day is April 24.
Within the month of April, Green Dot plans to use their social media platforms to educate followers on the impact of trauma, centered around the book, “Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk.
Kolk is an expert on trauma and throughout the book offers a new paradigm for treatments, how drug addictions and therapies are discussed and taking a new approach that helps heal a person’s mind, brain and body.
Alongside Denim Day events, there are other events set to take place throughout the month.
Starting on April 1, there will be the lecture, “#MeToo — Why has it taken so long?” featuring Florence George Graves.
Graves is an award-winning journalist and the founding director of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. Graves is credited for her reporting on the imbalance of power between men and women prior to the #MeToo era in the nation’s capital.
Graves is well-known for writing the investigative reports for The Washington Post on the hearings of Anita Hill and then-nominated chief justice, Clarence Thomas and was the first to report on the sexual harassment and abuse of power by former Senator Bob Packwood.
Additionally on April 1 there will be a SAAM Slam Poetry Jam at 8 p.m. at DG’s Tap House in Ames. The poetry slam is sponsored by ACCESS and Ames Poetry Revival.
On April 3 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be the “Start By Believing Day” event on South Parks Library Lawn.
In conjugation with the Iowa State Daily and the Greenlee School of Journalism, the “Why I Wear Denim: Shifting the Stigma Panel Discussion” will take place during the JLMC 240 class session from 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. on April 8.
The event will be broadcast through Facebook Live on the Daily’s Facebook page.
Additionally on April 8, there will be a showing of “Gridshock: A Film About Sex Trafficking in Iowa.” The film was produced by Vanessa McNeal, a Iowa State graduate and is McNeal’s fourth film. The film will explore the hidden realities of sex trafficking within the state of Iowa. Following the film, there will be a discussion and a Q&A with McNeal.
On April 9, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Margaret Sloss House will have the “What I Was Wearing” exhibit on display.
From April 17 to 24, the Survivor Stories- Silent Voices signs will be featured in high traffic areas around campus. This year the signs will highlight marginalized communities including women and girls, racial, LGBTQIA, men and boys, international students, survivors and more.
Student groups such as Interfraternity Council, Collegiate Panhellenic Council, Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc were in-part of the collaboration.
On April 17, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Green Dot’s booster session “Monarch, Migrants + Modern Day Slavery” will take place in Curtiss 0225. The session will have an open dialogue on sex trafficking, immigration and barriers that exist within the agriculture industry.
On April 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Denim Day 2019 event will take place on the eve of the actual day. Entitled “Dialogue on Trauma and Healing,” the goal of the event will be to provide a private setting for individuals who are either undergraduate or graduate students experiencing trauma to have a place to share their thoughts and feelings.
Breanne Ward, an Iowa State alum and a certified rehabilitation counselor and licensed mental health counselor, will be a featured facilitator during the session.
On April 24, those wishing to participate in solidarity are asked to wear denim clothing.