You Can Make a Difference in the lives of those we serve at Day One

#GivingTuesday is about generosity – a day to make a difference in the world at the start of the holiday season. This is the sixth year of #GivingTuesday and the growth is amazing, with over 98 countries raising over 177 million last year alone!

Please join us in celebrating #GivingTuesday November 28th by making a gift to Day One. Every gift has impact and shows your support for life changing work. Whether it is helping us educate students on prevention of sexual violence or working with victims on treatment, your donation truly makes a difference.

The most meaningful gift we can give this holiday season is one that supports our community and brings it together to help build a better world.
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#GivingTuesday is also about inspiring action. Social media is a place where people can voice their opinions and views. This #GivingTuesday, join Day One creating a community of hope, unity, and equality. Take an #UNselfie with the sign below. Simply write why you support Day One, snap a photo holding your sign and post to our social media channels. The best #Unselfie posted will win a Day One umbrella!
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Make a Gift Today!
Help us show the generosity of our community by making a gift. Consider making a recurring gift. A smaller gift each month can add up and make a big difference! Thank you for supporting Day One in our mission to reduce the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence and helping us to advocate for those affected by it. Make a gift today!

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The need for sexual assault and sexual harassment education

Over the past two weeks, sexual assault and sexual harassment have been hot topics in the media. It is great that the country is talking about these important issues, which are often shied away from and not discussed.  Through the Harvey Weinstein news, we have seen that those with power often abuse it to harm others. The notion that individuals with power and money are somehow above the law needs to change. In addition, we know that this does not just happen in Hollywood. It can occur anywhere and to anyone, as we have seen most locally with Representative Teresa Tanzi.

Individuals who come forward to speak out and tell others what has happened to them deserve to be praised. It is never easy for a victim to come forward and report.

People do not report sexual assault and harassment for a variety of reasons. Those who do come forward often face scrutiny and are met with disbelief — even more so when a person of influence or power has committed the abuse. Recovering from sexual assault or abuse may take weeks, months or years. There is no timetable for healing, which is why it often takes time for a victim to come forward. As we saw in the case of Harvey Weinstein, these actions have been happening for decades but victims felt they couldn’t speak up.

Fear is one of the biggest reasons victims do not report. The fear of retaliation from the abuser, fear of losing your job, fear of not knowing what will happen if you report are all reasons. We need to allow victims their space in determining when and how is the right time to report.

As we often say here at Day One, Victims need to be put in the driver’s seat and not be pressured into reporting or naming their abuser. The focus should be on the victim and making sure they are taken care of physically and emotionally. With pressure, we can also see victim blaming. Victim blaming can be as simple as questioning if an event actually occurred or saying “that’s just part of culture.” We need to stop victim blaming and re-traumatizing these victims. When victims see other victims being blamed, it may stop them from reporting for fear of being blamed themselves.

Through the #MeToo campaign, we saw that when others speak up, other victims can feel like they too can come forward. There is strength in numbers. The nation has put a face to the issue in seeing famous actors and actresses say they have been abused. Even locally on your own social media news feeds, people are seeing their neighbors, politicians, friends and family post #MeToo.

It is great to see so many standing together saying “yes this happened to me too,” but we also need to look at this as a conversation to begin a culture change. Millions will continue to post #MeToo until we actually react and stop the behavior from occurring in the first place. The burden should not solely lie on their shoulders. We need to stand together to stop sexual assault. It is important for all to come forward, not just women. Everyone has a role in stopping sexual violence. The movement is starting, just the other day in response to #MeToo, men began posting with #HowIWillChange to take a step toward change.

In having open discussions, we can educate one another on not only how to react when abuse happens, but how to prevent it. What we do and say about the issue of sexual violence matters. By increasing understanding of the issue, we can more effectively respond to survivors, enhance community safety, and ultimately prevent it.

Education needs to be a priority, now more than ever. We need to teach both our youth and adult communities that this kind of behavior is against the law and will not be tolerated. Our entire state and nation needs to take a step back and look at what is right, what is wrong, and what abuse actually is. So often we hear “oh that isn’t assault, it’s just the way it is.” These thoughts need to be changed. We need to learn about bystander intervention and have the confidence to speak up if you see or hear something. We also need to educate everyone on personal boundaries and how to respect each other. Together we can create a culture of equality and respect.

 

Senator Whitehouse Donation and Day One response to Harvey Weinstein

On Saturday, October 7th, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse announced that he will donate a campaign contribution from movie producer Harvey Weinstein to Day One, the only organization in Rhode Island that specifically deals with issues of sexual assault as a community concern.

We want to thank Senator Whitehouse for his generosity and for thinking of survivors’ needs during this time. His donation will go directly toward supporting the treatment, intervention, education, advocacy, and prevention services to Rhode Islanders of all ages—from preschool children to elder adults.

The news about movie producer, Harvey Weinstein is appalling. Over the past week, numerous allegations and stories have surfaced exposing the long history of Weinstein using his power in inappropriate and coercive acts of sexual harassment and abuse. The notion that individuals with power and money are somehow above the law needs to change.

The individuals who have come forward and speak out about what happened to them deserve to be praised. It is not easy to come forward and report, especially when a victim fears retaliation. When others speak up, other victims can feel like they too can come forward to report.

People do not report sexual assault for a variety of reasons. Those who do come forward often face scrutiny and are met with disbelief — even more so when a person of influence has committed sexual violence. Recovering from sexual assault or abuse may take weeks, months or years. There is no timetable for healing which is why it often takes time for a victim to come forward.

It is encouraging to see that since the news of Mr. Weinstein’s harassment and abuse broke, his company, the Hollywood community, and politicians who have received thousands in donations have renounced his actions. Unfortunately, it was also reported that Mr. Weinstein’s actions were a well-known secret within Hollywood. If only this news was reported years earlier, it is possible that more women would not have been victimized.

Mr. Weinstein’s response to allegations did not help himself. His attempt to justify his behavior and make excuses are insulting to all sexual abuse and harassment survivors. Excuses that you came of age in the 60’s and 70’s when rules were different and that was the culture are absurd. No one should have to face sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace or anywhere else in the world.

It is important to recognize the impact such a high-profile case can have. This is an important time for the nation to discuss sexual harassment and sexual violence. We need to stand with survivors. For far too long we have shied away from discussing sexual violence. In having open discussions, we can educate one another in not only how to react when abuse happens, but how to prevent it in the first place. What we do and say about the issue of sexual violence matters. By increasing understanding of the issue, we can more effectively respond to survivors, enhance community safety, and ultimately prevent it. Together we can create a culture of equality and respect.

At Day One, we support survivors. Support is available for victims of sexual assault 24/7, no matter when the sexual violence occurred. Staff and volunteers are trained to accompany victims to medical facilities, police stations, and legal proceedings and advocate for their needs. We also offer a myriad of trauma informed clinical options.

While we never want to see an increase in cases of sexual assault, the courage of the survivors in this case and so many others is inspiring. Victims should first and foremost be believed if we are to be able to move forward with healing. If you are in need of help please call Day One at 401-421-4100 or our 24/7 helpline at 1-800-494-8100.

Immigrants and Victims of Crime

Earlier today, Day One was happy to attend a community forum hosted by Rhode Island State Police regarding immigration.

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Day One joined other community leaders to discuss and ask questions regarding State Police policies and procedures on immigration. The goal of this forum was to ensure that all residents can feel confident and safe to contact the State Police for services without fear that their immigration status will be questioned.

As the only agency in Rhode Island organized specifically to deal with the issue of sexual assault as a community concern, we want to make sure victims feel safe coming forward to report a crime.

The State Police policy states that complainants, witnesses and victims are encouraged to communicate with State Police officers without fear of inquiry regarding their immigration or alien status. Being an undocumented person in this country, barring any criminal activity, is a federal civil violation not enforced by the Rhode Island State Police. A person’s immigration or citizenship status shall not be a reason to not pursue a complaint or complete an investigation.

Day One works with the Rhode Island State Police on a regular basis and we are happy to see forums like today’s discuss how victims of crime, no matter their citizenship, should have no fear reporting a crime. We want to ensure that victims in Rhode Island are safe and receive the support and information they need throughout the process. At Day One, we work with all victims regardless of immigration status. If you need help, please call us at 401-421-4100, email info@dayoneri.org or call our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-494-8100.

Day One awarded “Champions in Action” grant by Citizens Bank and NBC 10!

DAYONE_CIAThe award, announced jointly by Citizens Bank and NBC10, includes $35,000 in unrestricted funding as well as promotional and volunteer support for the organization’s outstanding work.
Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities, the bank’s program designed to enhance quality of life and economic vitality in local communities. It provides support for nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout Rhode Island.

With this award, Day One is able to announce the kick-off of our new education prevention program iMentor, which we are now ready to pilot with help from of these funds.

The iMentor program will allow us to work with boys ages 11 to 15 to promote and sustain positive interactions, with their peers and within relationships, in order to change social norms in their communities and create safer environments for all.

For more information view the video NBC 10 created.

A State-wide Collaboration

IMG_5336We had a great July meeting of the RI Cross-Campus Learning Collaborative for Sexual Violence Prevention hosted at Salve Regina University. Faculty, staff, and students shared their work on research partnerships between academic and student affairs on campus sexual violence. Each month, we rotate meeting locations between the eleven colleges/universities in the state, where colleagues and members of the Collaborative facilitate a presentation/discussion relevant to sexual violence prevention.
Now, the Collaborative is gearing up for a retreat on August 17, marking the two year anniversary of this state-wide initiative! We will be reflecting on our successes over the past two years, highlighting the prevention work done on each campus, and planning for our future goals and next steps.
Additionally, the American Public Health Association (APHA) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are hosting a national campus sexual assault prevention Action Planning Institute. After a competitive application process, eleven teams across the country have been selected to participate in this opportunity to receive technical assistance in the implementation and evaluation process.

The RI Cross-Campus Learning Collaborative for Sexual Violence Prevention was selected as one of the teams with the following representatives:

  • Lauren Kelly, Day One
  • Jola Ilori, RI Department of Health
  • Korina Ramsland-Short, Johnson & Wales University
  • Lisa Hoopis, Rhode Island College
  • Rachel Dunham, University of Rhode Island
The Action Planning Institute will be held at the end of July in Atlanta, GA  where we will have the opportunity to present the work of the Collaborative as a state-wide model for campus sexual violence prevention. In addition, we will have an opportunity to strategically plan for the continuation of our work through an ongoing implementation and evaluation process with the support of the APHA and CDC in the coming months.

Day One announces new Chief Operating Officer and new Controller

Day One has experienced strategic growth over the past month with dedicated hires in leading the agency’s most critical areas. “Our growth is indicative of the overwhelming need in our society for these services,” says Peg Langhammer, Day One executive director. “The new staff additions will allow us to move forward though our strategic planning and allow our services to grow and support the community’s needs.”

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Day One is pleased to announce that Maureen Philbin has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Maureen will be responsible for overseeing all programs and services while working with the board of directors and management team to implement the agency’s strategic plan to help shape the future of Day One.

Over the past two years, Maureen has been the Director of Advocacy at Day One and has worked tirelessly in growing all of our programs as well as creating programs for victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and improving the statewide helpline to support victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Prior to Day One, Maureen worked in multiple positions over 20 years at Child & Family Services of Newport County. Maureen received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University and her Master of Education in Counseling from Providence College.

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this new role,” said Maureen. “There is a strong need in Rhode Island for all of Day One’s services; and I look forward to helping guide the organization as we continue to grow.”

 

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Additionally, Day One would like to announce the hiring of Nancy Stetter as our new Controller. As the Controller, Nancy will be responsible for managing the agency’s finances. The position also oversees human resources functions.

Nancy brings over 20 years of financial and accounting experience to Day One. Most recently, Nancy was the Director of Finance and Administration at Serve Rhode Island, where she managed all aspects of accounting, grants management, and administrative management functions for Rhode Island’s Commission for National and Community Service to facilitate the administering of grants for nine federally funded AmeriCorps volunteer programs. Within this role, a large focus of her time was working with numerous nonprofits and sub-grantees. Nancy previously worked at Save the Bay for over a decade as well as other nonprofits over the years. Nancy received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics and Finance from Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey.