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MU Pushing to Make Rape Awareness Project National Effort

"Denim Day" to be made official as Missouri Governor signs proclamation

April 9, 2007

Story Contact:  Jennifer Faddis, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A convicted rapist in Italy had his conviction overturned in 1999 when the Italian Supreme Court judges decided the victim's jeans were so tight she had to have helped him take them off. The women in the Italian legislature expressed their outrage by coordinating their attire; they all wore jeans to work. This is the foundation for "Denim Day," which is acknowledged by many states in America but is not yet a coordinated effort. The University of Missouri-Columbia is working to change that.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) gave $10,000 to the MU Department of Textile and Apparel Management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences to push the "Denim Day" effort forward. Students in the computer aided design class created a "Denim Day" logo and designed pins. The brand marketing class students created posters, fliers and bookmarks. On April 11, eight MU students and representatives of DHSS will be at the state capitol as Governor Matt Blunt signs a proclamation officially declaring April 26, 2007, as "Denim Day."

"We want to see this effort go nationwide. We have been writing to Oprah every week for six months," said Lynn Boorady, assistant professor of textile and apparel management. "Our department is predominantly female, and rape touches a lot of college women, so it makes sense for us to take on this project. I feel good about the way we are taking a strong stand for rape awareness."

The members of the Association of Textile and Appeal Management student group decided to take the effort even further. They are creating 'rape kits' to be distributed to police stations and hospitals. The kits include drawstring pants, a t-shirt, flip-flops and personal hygiene products in a tote bag. The idea is for the entire outfit to be considered disposable.

"When a woman goes to the hospital after being raped, she leaves her clothes. Whatever she wears home is always going to be associated with that, and we don't want them to have any reminder of the rape," Boorady said.

The students in the apparel production class are sewing the bags, and the department donated fabric scraps to state prisoners, who will stitch the pants. The scraps will be used to make quilts for foster children. The other contents of the rape kit bags are being donated.

MU will provide "Denim Day" materials to Columbia College, Stephens College, Lincoln University in Jefferson City and Williams Woods University in Fulton. All campuses will distribute the items and hold rape awareness activities and events on April 26.