University of Dayton students wear denim to support victims of sexual violence

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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University of Dayton students wear denim to support victims of sexual violence??

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

University of Dayton students made a special effort to wear denim Wednesday as part of "Denim Day" to show support for victims of sexual violence everywhere.

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"It's not your fault, I believe you and you have resources" is the message the student group PAVE wants to get across to the campus community, member Emily Jones told News Center 7's Tavares Jones on Wednesday.

Members of PAVE, an acronym for Peers Advocating for Violence Education, are trained to facilitate the kinds of tough conversations group members say often follow when a victim of sexual assault comes forward. PAVE also provides training for 80 percent of each freshman class so they can recognize sexual violence.

Caleb Negron, a graduate assistant and PAVE member, said, "at UD we constantly talk about this idea of community. And with over 85 percent of the students living on campus, our impact is a lot greater because we're within arms reach."

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"Denim Day" memorializes a 1992 rape case in Italy that ended in the exoneration of the convicted rapist on appeal when the Italian Supreme Court in 1998 decided the victim must have helped the accused remove her tight jeans, implying consent. The ruling sparked protest, including women in the Italian Parliament who wore jeans and held placards that read "Jeans: An Alibi for Rape."

The protest spread to Los Angeles and women there took up the protest in April 1999.

The wearing of jeans on April 24 represents survivors.

"We can't do this without students," Emily Jones said, and so it's about empowering them so they can have those tough conversations.

"It's on all of us to step up and prevent this kind of violence from occurring," she said. "Not just at UD but around the world."

For the last three years,  UD has had about 10 campus notifications each year, with an average of about three relating to sexual misconduct,

"It does not matter if someone is showing a ton of skin, or no skin at all," Emily Jones said. "That does not give anyone any reason take advantage of you, to incite violence upon you."

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