The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC Champions Awareness and Support for Survivors During Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Courtesy of DVC Student Services

In honor of Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Diablo Valley College sponsored a tabling event, a community education presentation, and a “Take Back DVC” campus walk on April 24 to address the myths and facts about sexual harm and how to best support survivors. 

“We believe it is crucial to host events for sexual assault awareness because it provides a platform to educate our community about the prevalence and impact of sexual assault,” representatives of Community Violence Solutions, an organization aiding survivors of sexual assault and family violence, said in a statement.

This is DVC’s second time hosting the event with Community Violence Solutions in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, nationally recognized in April, and the first time the campus has ever recognized Denim Day.

Denim Day originated in the 1990s in Italy after a judge argued that because a victim of sexual assault wore tight jeans, she had to help the perpetrator remove them, making the act consensual. Angered by the verdict, women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans, starting the Denim Day tradition. 

Observed annually on a Wednesday in April, the day symbolizes a visible protest against the damaging attitudes surrounding sexual assault.

The event on campus came just seven months after the arrest of DVC communications professor and track coach Kyle Whitmore, who faces charges of sexual assault and human trafficking and will stand trial later this month.

Advocates say DVC’s administration, faculty and students are starting important discussions to help empower survivors, as the month-long initiative aimed to educate the community and address the culture of silence around sexual violence.

Some students in particular have expressed their views about holding campus events and dedicating school resources to address the topic.

“I think it’s great they’re trying to spread awareness because I feel like it’s a really big issue that most people won’t see,” said DVC student Dreanna Tablada.

“So I feel like it’s good to get everyone in this community involved.”

In addition to the Denim Day event, organized by faculty members Marina Varela, Steven Nguyen and Kathy Bennett, DVC’s commemoration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month gave the community opportunities to show support for those who have experienced sexual assault.

Students were invited to submit a message of strength and solidarity with survivors through an online form. Some messages shared by students will be displayed on the DVC Wellness webpage, as a source of encouragement and inspiration to make a difference with positive words.

DVC is also sharing resources for students who need help talking through difficult situations, such as sexual abuse, mental health struggles or other overwhelming life circumstances. Students are encouraged to take advantage of TimelyCare, a telehealth service that is free for students enrolled at DVC.

By creating a campus environment where individuals feel empowered to speak out and seek assistance, DVC is playing an important role in combating the damaging mindsets and creating a culture of respect and empathy on campus.

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Kalli Mejia, Staff Writer

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