MILWAUKEE --Dozens of pairs of jeans are hung all around Marquette's campus today to join in the awareness for sexual assault.
Denim Day started after a 1999 rape case in Italy. Judges sided with the alleged rapist in the case because of the woman's jeans.
"The justices found that her jeans were so tight, she must have consented," Kacie Otto, Violence Prevention Specialist at Marquette said.
"When someone faces violence, we want them to know, it's never their fault. No matter what they were wearing or where they were or what they were doing."
"I don't care how tight my jeans are or what I'm wearing," Rayne Trangsrud said. "If I don't say yes, that's not consent."
The jeans are all decorated with positive messages.
It's not your fault.
We believe you.
You are heard.
All messages to help victims feel like they can come forward to get justice.
The display is effective too. Students were drawn to the denim jeans hung on clothes lines as they walked to their next class. Some walked up to snap photos of messages or to read more about what it was all for.
It's in an interesting spot as college aged women are three times as likely to become victims of sexual assault than women in general. Otto hopes messages like these can help end sexual assault.
"The message I hope it sends is, you're not alone," she said. "We believe you. It's a way for the campus community to show support for survivors of sexual violence but also a way for the community to call for the end of victim blaming."
"I think it's pretty beautiful they're hanging these jeans up and really making a statement," Mason Morrow, a Neenah Senior said.
"I like the ones that say survivor or really supporting words like, it's not your blame," Kelly Connolly, a Marquette Freshman said. "Just something that really empowers people."
Marquette is no exception to assaults. The University says there were 15 reported cases of sexual assault between 2015 and 2017. However, the support this and other events get help students feel protected.
"It helps me feel safe and helps me feel like there's an army behind me that's willing to help anybody and keep all the women, men, everybody on our campus safe," Trangsrud said.
Marquette offers services for its students who are victims of sexual assault (https://www.marquette.edu/sexual-misconduct/prevention.php).
However, Otto says many other campuses have similar services and she urges anyone who feels they were a victim of a sexual assault to seek these services out.