Community participates in Denim Day


Leo Saperstein/Chronicle

Goldie Grube ’23 and Ella Goldberg ’23 pose in jean clothing they wore in honor of Denim Day on April 27.

Leo Saperstein

Members of the community participated in Denim Day to raise awareness of sexual violence April 27. Denim Day, meant to combat victim-blaming, takes place annually during the last week of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Gisele Stigi ’22, who participated by wearing a denim outfit, said Denim Day allowed her to express support for victims of sexual violence.

“I have friends who are big parts of Empower, the female empowerment club, and I also have friends and know many people who have been victims of sexual assault and rape,” Stigi said. “I participate in Denim Day to stand in solidarity with them.”

Stigi said although she does not believe Denim Day is capable of making a substantial impact, she thinks it offers community members a chance to consider sexual assault.

“It’s a really good way for people to recognize it and remember the issue of sexual assault and rape,” Stigi said. “I think [the community] does not talk about [sexual assault] all that much, but I think that is also because I don’t think [the school] has a as much of a problem with sexual misconduct and violence as greater communties, which is really great. Because of that, it is not something that is brought up quite as often.”

Denim Day occurred one day after Head of Upper School Beth Slattery sent an email reporting the results of an anonymous survey on sexual assault and harrassment within the community, taken in February. The email said 25% of respondents had experienced uncomfortable or violating touching , and more than 60% of respondents showed uncertainty on how to report instances of sexual misconduct to the school .

Shauna Altieri, who is the Assistant Director of Communications and Faculty Advisor of Empower, the school’s intersectional feminism and gender equality club, said approaching uncomfortable topics helps foster a safer community.

“I wore denim because it represents support for sexual violence survivors and the elimination of victim blaming,” Altieri said. “I think there is value in any day that facilitates conversation on uncomfortable topics in a way that is unthreatening to the community.”

Some students found participation in Denim Day an unfulfilling response to issues of sexual misconduct. Isaac Wiener ’23 said although he recognizes the schools awareness of sexual violence within the community, he has not seen enough of a concerted effort against the issue.

“I saw a pretty large number of people wearing jeans, though I am not sure how many of them were aware of Denim Day,” Wiener said. “I think that [the level of participation] shows that the school is definitely aware of sexual misconduct issues and is supportive of change to improve the issues, but, overall, the school has more work to do to adequately address the issue.”