Sexual Assault Awareness Month at Luther College

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Luther College is attempting to help change that statistic by celebrating Sexual Assault Awareness Month, an event that raises public awareness of sexual violence and educates communities on its prevention. Campus-wide events to raise awareness include National Day of Outreach, Council Practice meetings and International Denim Day.

Luther is also reassessing its campus policies in regard to sexual assault survivors and has recently opened the Luther College Center for Women and Gender Equality.

On Tuesday, April 2, the college participated in a National Day of Outreach, where Luther joined other campuses and organizations across the nation to distribute educational materials on staying safe, as well as tools to help stop sexual assault.

"PELVIS," a movement workshop explaining and enlivening the capacity of the pelvis, will be held from 2:30-4 p.m. Thursday, April 4 in Studio 1 of Luther's Center for the Arts.

Also in Studio 1, "This Radiant Place," a guided movement explanation, will be held from 8-10 p.m. Friday, April 5.

Luther will host Denim Day Wednesday, April 24. All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to donate money and wear denim to raise awareness of sexual assault. All money raised will be used to raise awareness about the effects of sexual assault and help end sexual abuse.

Denim Day found its origins in Italy in the 1990's when an 18 year-old girl was picked up by her 45 year-old driving instructor for her first driving lesson. Her instructor drove them to an isolated road, wrestled her out of her jeans, and raped her. Despite death threats made against her by her instructor, the girl still told her parents about the assault and pressed charges against him.

Although the perpetrator was convicted of rape, he appealed his sentence and was later released with the charges made against him dismissed. The judge stated that this was due to the fact that the victim's jeans were so tight, she had to help her assailant remove them. Upon hearing this detail, the court no longer considered the act rape, but consensual sex.

This verdict sparked an outrage and within hours, the women of the Italian Parliament had launched into protest by wearing jeans to work. The California Senate and Assembly was moved to do the same. When this practice reached Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, Denim Day was born. The first Denim Day was in April 1999 and has continued every year since.

For more information on Denim Day, visit http://denimdayusa.org/.

Luther College Center for Women and Gender Equality

The Luther College Center for Women and Gender Equality has the mission of supporting women interested in bettering themselves and the world around them. The center works to provide a safe environment for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

The center's first spring event is a string of Council Practice meetings. Council Practice is a non-hierarchal group communication method that encourages open speech between its members. For more information on joining Council Practice, contact Amy Chicos, amc@oneota.net or (563) 419-0581.

Working in partnership with the Diversity Center, Global Concerns groups, Student Life and the Women and Gender Studies Program, the Center for Women and Gender Equality supports the work of students and faculty in exploring the connections between gender, peace and justice. The center can be found in Gjerset House, two doors down from the Center for the Arts on the Luther campus.