Students, faculty and staff were asked to wear jeans for Denim Day today in order to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault. Trishta Dordi ’15 brought Denim Day to the school during her freshman year and has organized it ever since.
Dordi, Assistant to Head of Upper School Michelle Bracken and volunteers also organized activist Jackson Katz’s visit and a discussion session April 27. Students were able to submit anonymous questions prior to the discussion about gender issues.
Denim Day began in retaliation to a verdict of the Italian Supreme Court in 1997, in which the court declared a convicted rapist innocent because the tight jeans of the victim indicated that he had not raped but engaged in consensual sex.
Denim Day is part of a national sexual violence prevention and education campaign to “support survivors, and educate yourself and others about sexual assault,” according to denimdayinfo.org. The campaign stresses that there is no excuse for rape, including the tightness of one’s jeans.
Dordi said she had always known she wanted to do something for the community involving women’s rights because of the history of sexual abuse of the women in her family. Middle school psychologist Susan Ko encouraged Dordi to lead the organization in ninth grade.
“[Sexual abuse] is really psychologically debilitating, is what it is,” Dordi said. “I think people should really realize it does happen to people our age. There are girls in our school who it’s happened to who feel very uncomfortable about talking about it because it’s hard to talk about those things at our age.”
Dordi and volunteers posted pieces of denim around school decorated with messages such as “ask first” and “no means no.” Students could also purchase Denim Day T-shirts April 24, with proceeds going to three women’s shelters near school.