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Monday, February 06, 2023

PAVE’s Denim Day 2021 seeks to support, empower survivors of sexual violence

The UW-Madison chapter of Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment teamed up with the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association to host their first annual Denim Day event on Wednesday, April 28. 

Denim Day 2021 will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Library Mall to support victims of sexual violence. Participants will march down Langdon Street to the Capitol, where survivors will gather to share their experiences. Participants are encouraged to wear denim and required to wear face masks and socially distance. 

The march is in protest of sexual violence across the United States as well as on the UW-Madison campus, and is a part of PAVE’s programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

“Our goal is to bring awareness to the public health crisis that sexual violence is on our campus,” said PAVE-UW Chair Eli Tsarovsky. 

Denim Day will not just empower survivors and allies, but the event will also show that there is a community that supports survivors and wants to bring about an end to sexual violence on the UW-Madison campus, said Tsarovsky. 

“We need to bring more accountability for perpetrators and support for survivors on campus,” said Tsarovsky, underscoring that more funding for Survivor Services as well as Mental Health Services within University Health Services is integral to helping aid student survivors. 

According to Tsarovsky, the university has not done enough to address the impact of gender-based violence in the campus community.

“UW needs to do better,” emphasized Tsarovsky. 

In the PHA press release, Tsarovsky emphasized the importance of intersectionality in addressing sexual violence. 

“Ending sexual violence goes hand-in-hand with ending racism, sexism, ablesim, homophobia, state violence and other systems of oppression that out our groups in our community,” said Tsarovsky. “This march is a testament to the people of our community taking a firm stand against sexual violence.” 

Both the IFC and PHA’s involvement in Denim Day 2021 is intended to “show their community that the amount of sexual violencce [on-campus] is overwhelming” and highlight the importance of community in addressing sexual violence, according to Tsarovsky. 

“At the end of the day, this event is not about the organizations involved,” said Tsarovsky. “This event is survivor-centered and meant to empower and stand in solidarity with survivors in our community.”

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For those that cannot attend, campus organizers hope individuals will share resources across social media platforms. 

“We see you, hear you and believe you,” Tsarovsky said to survivors. “You will never walk alone.”

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