CSUN’s Strength United is bringing awareness to sexual assault and rape prevention, despite the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Strength United is encouraging the campus community to participate in Denim Day, to bring awareness, comfort and support to survivors of sexual violence.
“Many of our past actions have focused on bringing together the CSUN community in person to have a physical and visual representation to show support for survivors,” said Jessica Romo, associate director of Strength United. “COVID has completely shifted our approach due to the need for social distancing. We have not hosted any live events for over a year. We have done social media campaigns and virtual presentations to create awareness around Denim Day and Sexual Assault.”
To participate in Denim Day, wear denim on April 28 and share a photograph of yourself, and advocate for survivors, on social media. Follow and tag @strengthunitedcsun on Instagram and @strengthunited on Facebook to be a part of the community movement.
“Wear denim with a purpose, have conversations with people explaining why you are wearing denim,” Romo said.
Strength United serves the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child maltreatment in the community. In 2019 alone, more than 2,000 children and nearly 2,700 adults received direct services from Strength United, including 262 families and more than 300 foster youth. They provide 24/7 confidential support through their crisis hotline, Campus Care Advocates, and other medical and legal programs, assisting survivors as they navigate a complicated system. Additionally, they offer programs to address the specialized needs of LGBTQIA+ survivors.
Denim day was sparked in 1999 by the Italian Supreme Court overturning a rape conviction, ruling that since the victim was wearing tight jeans, she had to have helped her rapist remove them. The following day, the women of the Italian Parliament wore jeans in solidarity with the victim. The California Senate and Assembly followed suit in support, and by 1999 Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (now Peace Over Violence), established Denim Day in support of sexual assault and rape survivors.
Strength United’s Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you or someone you know has been impacted by violence or trauma, call (818) 886-0453 in the San Fernando Valley or (661) 253-0258.