Nearly two decades ago, the Italian Supreme Court ruled against the survivor of a sexual assault simply because she was wearing jeans. In their minds, removing them was a two person effort, which made the sexual act consensual. Her attacker was set free.
The global impact of the case has not been stifled in the time since. Elon University is no exception.
Students flocked in front of Moseley Center Wednesday in solidarity of Denim Day, an annual event where participants wear jeans in remembrance of the case. It was one of a slew of other events in April — Sexual Assault Awareness Month — that addressed the topic. The event was planned by sophomore Briya Ware, who didn't even know of the event until someone told her a week ago in her public speaking class. She said she helped with the logistics of the event, which garnered around 30 participants, because it is something she cares deeply about.
"Even if its something informal, I think the push to educate people is enough," Ware said
Briya Ware speaks during Denim Day.
The event featured speakers that encompassed students from all facets of campus.The speakers wanted to represent that sexual assault doesn't discriminate against race or gender. Sophomore Janay Tyson, a representative for the Black Student Union, mentioned this week's lead story in the Pendulum, which delved into cases of sexual assault at Elon, and said people need to understand where other people are coming from.
"Everyone deserves to have their stories heard," Tyson said.
Freshman Chloe Hultman said she was glad she attended the event and said it is now up to the students to shoulder the responsibility of preventing this problem on their campus.
"I think there is always something that people can learn more about ... its good to learn about the history of what's happened," Hultman said. "Going to events like this is a good place to start. Sometimes people don't feel comfortable talking about sexual assault. As a student, we need to have these conversations no matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. We need to get the word out there."
Ware agreed and said this is simply a stepping stone in attempting to solve the problem.
"It's a space that offers up a space to learn and I think that's just step one," Ware said. "You have to make a personal effort to educate yourself and know where you can extend help to others."