Police wear denim to raise awareness

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UW-Whitewater students and staff can donate jeans and other denim apparel today and throughout the month in acknowledgment of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The university police department is working with University Health and Counseling Services to sponsor activities and fundraising in support of awareness and victims of sexual assault.

Schouten

UW-Whitewater Police Sgt. Faye Schouten said the university has hosted numerous events in conjunction with Jefferson County’s People Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse association and Walworth County’s Association for the Prevention of Family Violence throughout the month.

Past events include “Sex in the UC,” a workshop on relationship violence as well as “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” a march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.

“We are doing this to support and empower survivors, not only women, but men as well,” Schouten said. “Take Back the Night’ is about supporting the survivors that have already been victims and celebrate the healing process they have gone through.”

In addition to the many programs being offered, Schouten said all police officers and other staff employed by the university’s police department will wear blue jeans today.

Schouten said University Police Services will conduct a self defense class from 6-9 p.m. tonight in Esker Hall Room 108. A statewide rally at the Capitol in Madison will occur this Saturday, April 28.

According to the website for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, approximately one out of five women and one in 71 men are raped in their lifetime.

According to the website for the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Denim Day began in April of 1999, when the Italian court system overturned a rape conviction. Judges felt the victim consented to sexual contact, due to the fact that, in their opinion, her jeans were tight enough that she needed to assist the perpetrator in removing them.

Today marks Wisconsin’s second annual statewide celebration of Denim Day.

Though Wisconsin has been celebrating Sexual Assault Awareness Month for two years, this is the first time UW-Whitewater is taking part in the festivities.

KiederlenUW-Whitewater Police Chief and Director of Police Services Matt Kiederlen said it is important to utilize as many avenues as possible in order to prevent and draw attention to sex-related crimes.

“Our department viewed this as a unique opportunity to encourage conversations on the prevention of sexual assault in all its forms,” Kiederlen said.

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the university police or the campus Sexual Assault Response Team at (262) 472-1060.

Denim Day donation boxes are available at Career and Leadership Development, Andersen Library, University Police Services in Goodhue Hall, Roseman, as well as in the lobby of the health center.

Students are encouraged to show support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and make a difference with denim.