Love Your Body Week & Sexual Assault Vigil

For many, loving your body is an everyday struggle. However, no one has to deal with that struggle alone.

Last week, the Office of Gender and Sexuality and the Whisler Center for Student Wellness partnered with student organizations to create “Love Your Body” Week on campus.

This body positivity week was compiled of a series of events from Monday through Friday, featuring different orgs every day.

One of the events was DASH Trivia Night, where students could come and learn different facts about their bodies and displace them from myths about our bodies and personal health.

“It’s been so inspiring to see clubs all across Denison rally behind such an important message of consent,” says Nathalie Weiss ‘21, a biochemistry major from Cincinnati, Ohio and co-president of Denison Advocates for Sexual Health. “We in DASH like to say that safe sex includes consent, protection, and respect.”

The organization was started by Kellsey Schwimmer ‘18 and hopes to live on through the student body by helping spread sexual and body positivity awareness and health.

Along with campus org events, body positivity activist Jes Baker was invited to speak to the student body and faculty on the topic.

Jes Baker is known as a body positive activist, author and blogger for her personal blog titled the Militant Baker and for her Attractive and Fat campaign. Her recent book titled Landwhale touches base on her personal journey with weight and prejudice, focusing on the facts of societal image. Baker also works with plus sized clothing companies and organizations and shows her passion to break body image stigma through her work.

Her Denison talk “Change the World, Love your Body: The Social Impact of Body Love” was held in Slayter Auditorium. The talk consisted of a slide show, humor and ended with a Q&A where students and faculty were open to ask questions and directly interact with Baker.

Baker inspired the Friday evening event, “Declarations of Self Love” which was in the Office of Gender and Sexuality. This event was a small but important message to yourself from an anonymous standpoint, to write on a sticky note something you love about yourself for the world to see.

Along with Body Positivity week, SHARE held “Take Back the Night”, for Sexual Respect Month, a sigil and moment of silence that honors and allows for victims of sexual assault or abuse to speak in a safe space. Students gathered in the center of the Reese Shackelford Commons holding candles. The Denison student acapella groups Tehila and Ladies Night Out were also present for the sigil.

“To me, Take Back The Night is the best representation of what we should be striving for on this campus (and in the world at large) when it comes to sexual respect – a commitment to the respect and empowerment of survivors, and a model of the revolutionary power of listening, sharing, and being,” says Isabella Puccini ‘20, a member of SHARE’s executive board and communications major from Chicago, Illinois.

In addition, Tori Sauve, a University Tees representative created a t-shirt design with the words “She is Someone”, in response to recent events with the Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford case, advocating for sexual respect on campus. The shirt began through Sauve’s initial posting in the Denison University Student Body Facebook group, which got over 80 likes and multiple comments in support of circulating the shirt throughout campus.

“The best way to [show support] is through a shirt — some people don’t know how to express how they feel or how to show their support. They are willing to do something like wear a t-shirt. It tells others that they stand for it, and it starts conversation,” says Sauve.

The shirt design was a collaboration with DASH, Denison Feminists, DCSR and SHARE.

The shirts are no longer available, but can have a reorder if in high demand. You can contact Tori Sauve at sauve_t1@denison.edu.

Love your body week was a reminder to others and the students and faculty of Denison’s campus that we do not believe in sexual assault, discrimination and disgracing others.