Discover Lasell

Patchwork in Progress

April 25, 2018

Denim Day Story Quilt at Lasell CollegeDenim Day co-organizer Mickayla Cobb '18 with the near-complete story quilt

"You are not alone. Love yourself."
"I am a survivor."
"I was there. It's a long road but you will get through it."

Denim swatches emblazoned with stories from survivors and messages of hope were sewn together into a quilt as part of Lasell College's first-annual Denim Day, a national campaign to raise awareness on sexual assault.

On Wednesday, April 25, the completed quilt hung in Glow Lounge as an educational tool for the community on both the causes and impact of sexual violence.

Run by the nonprofit Peace Over Violence organization, Denim Day was launched in the United States in 1999. The catalyst for the campaign was a controversial 1998 ruling by the Italian Supreme Court in which a rape conviction was overturned based on the judges' assessment that the victim's jeans were too tight to have been removed by the rapist alone, thus rendering her encounter consensual. As a result, the Denim Day campaign encourages women to wear jeans in solidarity and as a "symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault." 

Denim Day was brought to Lasell as a result of the efforts of Abigail Tague '18 and Mickayla Cobb '18, both of whom developed a directed study project with Assistant Professor Karin Raye to bring elements of the #MeToo movement to campus. Tague and Cobb's research uncovered this particular campaign, which led to the development of a portfolio of materials to promote the event and to spread awareness beyond the day's activities.

"We wanted to make a social statement, but in a way that allowed everyone to participate," said Cobb. "Uncomfortable things may happen to individuals who want to report an incident, but they are questioned about whether or not they took it the wrong way. Throughout this campaign, my hope is that the Lasell community will have a better understanding of sexual harassment and take it more seriously when it is reported."

Students donated denim for quilt swatches, which were left in strategic locations around campus for others to anonymously fill out. Volunteers helped collect and quilt the patches together throughout the month of April, culminating in the campus-wide event on April 25.

Staff and faculty were also encouraged to wear jeans to work that day to "show support for individuals of all genders who may have felt silenced in the past," according to an email from administration.

In addition to Denim Day, Lasell continues to undertake other initiatives including the Clothesline Project and the White Ribbon Campaign, both aimed at building a communal sense of responsibility and advocacy. The college also launched a Twitter account under the moniker "Lasell Stands Up" in 2015, with the hope of drawing more attention to these issues.

White Ribbon Campaign SignaturesSignatures were collected at the college's White Ribbon Campaign table in early spring.