Call for Art & Writing to Commemorate Denim Day & Sexual Assault Awareness Month

March 16, 2011

My former student, Rene Youssef, who is now a Client Advocate, Services Empowering Rights of Victims (SERV), at the Center for Family Services in Glassboro, sent me the following email for a very worthy cause that I am more than happy to pass on:

Center for Family Services is sponsoring The Glasstown Arts District in Millville Third Friday event on April 15, 2011. This event is to commemorate Denim Day and Sexual Assault Awareness Month by bringing recognition to the issues surrounding sexual violence and its victims.

We would like to invite faculty, students, and community members to help raise awareness by contributing artistic and written works surrounding the issues of sexual violence. Art will be displayed and auctioned off for charity, and written works will be distributed during the event.

If you’re not aware of what Denim Day is (I wasn’t), from the Center’s Denim Day information sheet (.pdf):

In 1998, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans, reasoning she must have helped her attacker remove them. Enraged by the verdict, the women in the Italian Parliament launched into action and protested by wearing jeans to the steps of the Supreme Court. Wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. Denim Day was launched in the USA in 1999 in California as a prevention education campaign. Since then, states across the country have joined in this effffort. This year, New Jersey hosts its 2nd annual Denim Day on April 28th.

Please take a look at the Call For Artists (.pdf) and Call For Writers (.pdf) (Writer’s Submission Form [.doc] — if poetry or other genre, add it next to Fiction or Nonfiction) and I urge you to submit something to support these important causes.

I don’t think I have any photographs that fall within the guidelines, but I will be submitting the poem, “Cottonmill Lake,” which I wrote ages ago. I was never fully happy with the closing lines, nor was my professor, but I’m happy to have been able to update it this evening and am much more pleased with it.

Cottonmill Lake

Venus, below a crescent moon,
Peeked above a veil of icicled spruce
And white birch, their shadows veiling
Sensitive fern and creeper.
Canada Geese and white swans
Flew into the shadows
As we walked through our breath,
Followed our last-night footsteps
To a wooden bench
Damp with windblown snow.

When we’d walked past weeping willows,
Their branches trapped in the frozen water,
You told me about the couch, the ceiling,
The male baby-sitter. How
Out your window the moon cradled itself
Through a clouding sky.

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