Skip To Main Content

Raising Awareness and Support for a Vital Cause

Raising Awareness and Support for a Vital Cause

In 1999, on the very first Denim Day, women across the globe joined together in solidarity and wore denim to support sexual assault awareness. Nearly 25 years later, Women of Canterbury (WoCbury) continues that mission. 

Awareness was front-and-center on campus during the week leading up to this year’s Denim Day, an initiative near and dear to the hearts of WoCbury Co-Presidents Elsa Copeland ’24 and Madeline Diglio ’24. “We all put a lot of our work and passion into the event,” Maddie said. “It was a mix of spreading awareness, educating our community, and raising money for support. The topic has touched so many lives. Seeing the awareness brought to action and the conversations occurring about it on campus was extremely important to us.”

That original Denim Day was introduced after an Italian court granted the appeal of a rapist and overturned his sentence because his victim wore tight jeans. This sparked worldwide protests, and Italian women showed up to work wearing jeans and other denim garments. That gesture grew to become a global phenomenon observed each year in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 

As Denim Day drew near at Canterbury, Saints picked up special pins crafted by WoCbury members, made donations, and signed jeans in solidarity. Students also addressed the topic during School Meeting and shared informational videos, including one about consent that used the offering of tea as a metaphor. It was compelling, even humorous at times, and, Elsa said, wholly effective in delivering the message. “The video got everyone’s attention. People were talking about it—saying ‘What is this?’—and that is ultimately what you want,” she said. “We considered other options but chose this one to get the point across and keep people engaged. It was perfect!”

The entire hilltop community embraced the spirit of Denim Day. Students and faculty alike were able to “dress down” if they wore their pins along with either denim or teal—the official color of sexual assault prevention. But it was not only about dressing down; our Saints were fully committed to helping raise awareness. “Even the students who were in dress code that day—who didn’t wear denim or teal—were still coming to us for pins,” Elsa shared. “They were saying, ‘Can I have a pin or two? I want to show my support.’ That was so great!”

Both Elsa and Maddie were quick to give shoutouts to their WoCbury Faculty Leads, Head of School Rachel Stone P ’23, ’24 and Director of Health Services Colleen Cook, R.N. ’02, for their help with the event. “Mrs. Cook and Mrs. Stone did a lot of work behind the scenes,” Maddie said. “They devote so much of their time to this.”

They were more than happy to do it. “It has been rewarding to watch the students' passion for the topic develop. Their commitment has helped grow Denim Day into a whole week of programming,” Colleen said. “I am confident our students ended the week understanding the educational resources available to them on and off campus and feeling empowered to support each other.”

Denim Day raised more than $1,000 for The Center for Empowerment and Education (CEE) in Danbury, which provides support services for victims of interpersonal violence through counseling and advocacy, crisis intervention, and emergency shelter. CEE also prevents and reduces interpersonal violence in the community through education and awareness. Thank you, Women of Canterbury, for your extraordinary efforts on behalf of this essential organization and cause.