If you go

What: National Denim Day March to Farrand Field

When: Wednesday, 4 p.m.

Where: Gates to Woodruff Cottage, CU campus

More: tinyurl.com/CUdenim

Denim never goes out of style and this week a group of University of Colorado seniors are using the everlasting trend to raise awareness about sexual assaults on campus.

CU's first Denim Day was organized by six women's and gender studies seniors who will be decked out in decorated denim and marching across campus in hopes of starting the annual anti-rape campaign in Boulder.

The march will be followed by a speaker from Men Standing Up -- a group supporting women's efforts against sexual violence -- and a poetry slam on Farrand Field.

"The idea behind it was in Italy in 1999, there was a court case where the high court judge decided not to prosecute a rapist... because the victim was wearing tight jeans and the rapist would have needed her assistance to remove the jeans because they were so tight," said Rebecca Willemse, a student coordinating the events. "Her rapist got off because she was wearing jeans so we're basing our events off of that case."

The campaign began as a class project for the girls' senior capstone course but for one of them the issue is a personal one.


Kacey Flemming, CU senior and event organizer, said she was raped at a party earlier this semester and is hoping to send a message to other victims through the campaign.

"It tells them that they're not alone," Flemming said.

"Everyone thinks that rape is something that happens somewhere else and to someone else, but that's not true," she said. "It happens here at CU parties and in Boulder. It's something that could happen to you."

Miranda Encina-Serrano a junior at the University of Colorado walks through the Denim Day Artwork display on the Norlin Quad on the CU Boulder Campus.
Miranda Encina-Serrano a junior at the University of Colorado walks through the Denim Day Artwork display on the Norlin Quad on the CU Boulder Campus. ( PAUL AIKEN )

The students began raising awareness for Wednesday's events early in the week by hanging a clothesline displaying decorated denim over the Norlin Quad. The denim was decorated with images and words about sexual assault to encourage students to wear denim and join in the events.

Flemming said she decorated several pieces for the display including one patch of denim that had a message to her rapist over a painting of the flatirons.

"My sad patch says, 'having you shove your dick down my throat to the point where I couldn't breathe and vomited twice made me feel like trash,'" Flemming said.

The organizers said they are not sure how many people will come to the march and the events at Farrand Field but if RSVPs to a Facebook invite are any indication they could see close to 200 participants.

Willemse said they hope to see both men and women at the rally Wednesday supporting the campaign.

"One of our goals is to get men to stand up against sexual assault against women on campus," Willemse said. "We need male allies in this venture to end sexual assault."

CU senior Corey Wiggins is attending Wednesday's events in support of the group's efforts to get males involved in the campaign.

"I think it's really important for men and anyone to stand together in solidarity around things like sexual abuse and violence against all identities," Wiggins said. "We have to be supportive and work with each other to make this a safer community."

Wiggins is working to revive a previous campus group called Men Confronting Violence, which will include students, faculty, staff and administration addressing the cultural issue of society teaching men to be violent.

The group is currently in the planning stages and is hoping to launch at the beginning of next academic year.