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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette celebrates Denim Day

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake
Denim Day was April 26 with speakers, a silent march and other activities. 

Walking around Marquette University’s campus last week, one might have run into students and faculty dressed in denim jeans and jackets. 

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Marquette’s student wellness center led the community in celebration of Denim Day April 26 with speakers, a silent march and other activities. 

The Denim Day Campaign was founded in 1999 after a rape conviction was overturned by the Italian Supreme Court. The case involved the rape of an 18-year-old woman by her 45-year-old driving instructor. Because the victim was wearing jeans at the time of the rape, the justices believed that she must have implied her consent by helping her rapist to remove her pants. Enraged by the overturning, women in the Italian Parliament showed up to work the next day wearing jeans in support of the victim.

With its intention to end victim blaming, Charlie McClinton, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and a peer wellness educator, said Denim Day is a time for the Marquette community to unite with each other.

“Denim Day has very much just strengthened the support for sexual assault awareness. Even by just wearing a pair of jeans today, you are showing that you stand with and support sexual assault survivors,” McClinton said. “We love taking every single sign of support and empowering it.

As someone who was on the planning committee for last year’s Denim Day, McClinton said he is proud of the new additions made to this year’s event. 

These news events included a silent march in support of sexual assault survivors and a resource fair that promoted student wellness.

“We’re doing all of this different stuff to provide students with more access to resources, more creativity and more support to strengthen what Denim Day means to them,” McClinton said. 

For Estelle Welhouse, victim advocate in Marquette’s Center for Student Wellness & Health Promotion, exposure to student resources is one of the most important goals of Denim Day.

“With the prevalence of sexual assaults, especially on college campuses, students need to know that they are always supported, and they need to know where they can go to get connected with resources,” Welhouse said.

Among all graduate and undergraduate students in the United States, about 13% of these students experience rape or another form of sexual assault.

Welhouse said she hopes students affected by sexual assault take advantage of the help that is waiting for them on campus. 

“We have a 24/7 hotline at Marquette, and every advocate who works is confidential so that students who reach out for help can feel supported without having to notify the university, authorities or parents,” Welhouse said. “We want students to feel safe sharing their stories.”

Josephine Strauss, a first-year in the College of Engineering, said she volunteered to help plan Denim Day as a way to lend her support to those impacted by sexual violence. 

Eventually, Strauss said she hopes to take on a student position within the wellness center. 

“Advocacy is really important to me. I’ve always wanted to use my voice and platform to stand up for people who can’t use their voice,” Strauss said. 

Even though Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month have come to an end, Strauss said Marquette students should use these celebrations as motivation to never stop looking for opportunities to take care of one another. 

“It’s important that people who have the ability and opportunity to speak up, do so as much as they can,” Strauss said. “There are ways both big and small to support the community, so do whatever you can whenever you can because it matters.”

Timothy Littau contributed to this report.

This story was written by Erin Howard. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Erin Howard
Erin Howard, Copy Editor
Erin Howard is a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, Illinois and is studying journalism. This year, Erin will serve on the Marquette Wire as a Copy Editor. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys running and listening to music. Erin is very excited to get to know more people on each branch of the Wire and share the important stories happening around campus.

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