Denim Day Event Closes Out SMC's Consent Week
Students filed in to receive their slice of free Domino's pizza and a few free pins given out by Peace Over Violence members for Denim Day at Santa Monica College's main campus quad on Wednesday, April 25. Volunteers at the event wore denim from head to toe to show their support for the national day that brings awareness to the importance of sexual consent.
According to the the Los Angeles Peace Over Violence organization's website, Denim Day originated from a 1990 court decision in Italy. An 18-year-old girl was picked up by her driving instructor, taken to an isolated road, pulled out of the car, then was forcefully stripped out of one leg of her jeans and was raped. The rapist, who also threatened to kill the girl if she told anybody, was thrown in jail. However, he appealed his sentence to the Italian Supreme Court, who overturned the conviction and released the instructor on account that “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”
The women of Italy were enraged by the decision made by the Chief Justice, and within hours wore tight denim jeans to work as protest. This has been a national event in the U.S. and Italy ever since the incident.
Along with free pizza, corn toss, t-shirt hanging, and denim on denim, was a table with a representative from Peace Over Violence. Betty Robinson, training and program manager for Peace Over Violence, said, “Our agency has different programs, we have an education part which does a lot of work out in the community, educating middle and high school students, as well as students at college campuses, on what consent is.”
Peace Over Violence is based in LA and serve the metro and west side valley, and downtown. The non-profit organization strives to build healthy relationships, educate students on teen dating violence, sexual violence, and to push students to have such conversations early to ensure a healthy future.
“As an agency, we also offer intervention services,” Robinson said. “Once someone has been sexually assaulted or the victim of domestic violence, we offer free counseling, free place management, and free support groups.”
They also have healing arts, trauma informed yoga, self-defense classes, and accompaniment. The organizations also offers help with court services for survivors who faced an incident, and whether they may want to seek a divorce or obtain child custody. “We will go to court with the client and make sure they have support through that process,” said Robinson.
Robinson's table was covered in various pins, stickers, and flyers to help spread the word about the organization so helpful to victims and survivors. Laughing, she states that “Free food is never a bad incentive, it brings people in.”