Denim Day


As an agency that works to end sexual violence of all kinds, we invite you to participate in Denim Day. Denim Day is an anti-sexual violence campaign that uses denim jeans as a statement to raise awareness about victim blaming, rape culture, and sexual abuse. All over the world, women and men who are victims of sexual assault continue to be accused of causing the assault due to their behavior or fashion. These accusations – and the mindset behind them – must end.

Did you know that in Rhode Island, one in eight women have been sexually assaulted during their lifetime? In addition, an estimated one in four girls and one in six boys will experience sexual assault before they are 18 years old. It’s unacceptable and it is time for a change.

Why Denim?
In 1998 in Italy, an 18-year-old girl was raped by her driving instructor. The man was convicted, but the case went to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome. The court overturned the conviction, arguing that because the girl wore very tight jeans, she must have helped remove them, thereby giving consent to have sex. The women in the Italian Parliament protested by wearing jeans to work. Wearing jeans became a symbol of awareness that what someone wears is never an excuse for rape. The first Denim Day was in April 1999, and has continued in cities in the US and around the world every year since.

To honor Denim Day, we encourage community members and businesses to wear jeans to work or school to promote a discussion of the misconceptions that surround sexual violence. Participants can share pictures online using the hashtag #DayOneDenimDay.

We also ask that you hold a Denim Day fundraiser at your business and collect donations from staff who participate to benefit Day One. On Denim Day, you can make an optional donation of $2.00 or more and join colleagues, friends, family, and staff who support Day One’s efforts in preventing sexual violence. In 2016 alone, Day One served over 10,000 children, adolescents, and adults through our programs, and your donations help us continue our services and create new programs. With your help, we can reduce the prevalence of sexual violence, so use this day as an opportunity to dress down for a great cause!

It is also important to keep the awareness going throughout the year after Denim Day. Many businesses have dress down Fridays during the year, please consider turning it into a fundraiser each week with a donation to Day One.

Thank you for your support!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)

DayOne Bus Ad 1Join us in spreading awareness of this important issue. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it. This year’s theme is: Engaging new voices. Forging new alliances. Our goal is to reach all communities because sexual assault knows no bounds. It affects everyone, which is why we need everyone’s help to end it. Thank you for getting involved and for supporting Day One’s SAAM efforts.

All month long, Day One is hosting several events throughout the state to raise awareness about this important issue. Our heaviest coverage will be in the schools. Our education team will be busy with dozens of events ranging from workshops, information tables, films, and panel discussions at middle schools, high schools, and colleges and universities throughout the state.

SAAM events open to the public include:

  • April 5: Victim’s Grove Ceremony at Veteran’s Memorial Park, South Main Street, Providence; 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM (Open to the public)
  • April 5: Human Trafficking Panel/Documentary film screening at RWU; 7:00 PM- featuring Day One CAC/Human Trafficking Manager (Open to the public)
  • April 18: Salve Regina University Panel on Human Trafficking; 6:00 PM at Bazarsky Lecture Hall (Open to the public)
  • April 24: Screening of Hooligan Sparrow at Providence Public Library; 5:30 PM  – 7:30 PM (Open to the public)
  • April 25: Film showing, The Mask You Live In, and a panel on masculinity; 6:30 PM at Salve Regina University, O’Hare 260 – featuring Day One education representative. (Open to the public)
  • April 26: SAAM Student Book Club at Providence Public Library; 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Open to all high school students)
  • April 29: “A Day of Accountability: Students for Violence-free Campuses” RI Student Collaborative event at Rhode Island Statehouse lawn; 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Rain date April 30th) (Open to the public)
  • May 1: May One for Day One, McBride’s Pub, Providence; 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM Tickets available at McBride’s Pub (Open to the public)
  • May 4: Day One Day – Informational session about Day One’s services (Open to the public)
And so much more! Including FREE workshops to be scheduled for community members throughout the month covering various topics related to sexual violence.

Healing and Growth: Day One’s Therapy Dog

In an office full of toys and color, a small spot in the corner is set aside with a blanket. This is the resting space for Gracie, Day One’s in-house therapy dog. Whenever Gracie is in the office, there is a noticeable change in both the clients and
the staff as she walks around the halls and greets anyone she sees.

Paula Marcello, LMHC Clinician and RN at Day One, has had Gracie for nine years and describes her as “simply remarkable.” Paula actually rescued Gracie from an abusive home while working in a program called Project Connect. “I wasn’t looking for a dog,” says Paula. “But that all changed when I was doing home visiting.”

The first time she met Gracie, Paula was struck by her sweet and friendly nature, but noted that she was head-shy and would often keep her head down or flinch away from people’s hands. Dogs often develop this behavior if they have faced abuse in the past. “I knew Gracie was special, and I had this inner feeling that I was going to get her eventually.”

Paula was determined to give Gracie a happier life, and started by christening her with a new name: Gracie. Her previous name was Diamond, but Paula wanted something that emphasized her gentle and graceful nature.

From there, Paula started bringing Gracie to visit her mother in a nursing home. Gracie would poke her head into the rooms and the residents were always so happy to see her. “That’s when I knew she would be healing for people,” says Paula. “Everybody that’s met her knows she’s special.”

Now, Gracie is a constant presence at Day One’s office. On breaks, the two go for walks. “I don’t even have to put her on the leash,” says Paula. “She just walks with me.”

Gracie is also famous for checking on people in the waiting areas. “She’s so smart that she knows who needs attention,” says Paula. In the past, Gracie has walked over to clients and tapped them with her head in a comforting gesture. “If she feels like someone is kind of off, she’ll go and lie down next to them. If they’re anxious, they can just pet her,” says Paula. In between visiting clients, she lies in the hall while clients and staff members alike stop to sit with her.

file1-1Some of Day One’s clients have developed extremely close relationships with Gracie. One client brings her a bone every week, which Gracie hides among her little blanket in Paula’s office. Clients often take pictures with Gracie and send them to Paula, who prints them out and places them on a corkboard.
One picture, titled “Gracie
Looking Upwards,” perfectly demonstrates the love and positivity Gracie represents.

For one long-time client named Liz, Gracie has made all the difference. Gracie will often accompany Liz for her therapy appointments and has been doing so for about a year and a half. While Liz initially felt uncomfortable coming to the agency and talking in sessions, Gracie has helped her feel more secure. “I literally feel ecstatic when I am able to run down the hall and see her sitting there,” says Liz. “Every time I arrive at Day One, she notices me immediately. She always gets up, wags her tail, and gives me her paw. I love her like my own.”

For Paula, seeing the relationship between Gracie and clients like Liz is always amazing. “I’ve had people call and ask to see the ‘therapist with the dog,’” says Paula, laughing. “She’s just so wonderful with people.”

It is amazing to witness the way Gracie supports and comforts our clients; something a “human therapist” just can’t copy.

Rhode Island is first in the country to have statewide Law Enforcement Advocates


The Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA) program, wleashich has been successful at various police departments throughout Rhode Island,
has expanded to serve the entire state. After gaps in the system were identified in 2016, domestic violence and sexual assault service agencies throughout Rhode Island aplied for VOCA, VAWA, and other grants in order to be able to fully fund this program, which is coordinated by Day One and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) in partnership with law enforcement. The very first Law Enforcement Advocates in Rhode Island started in 1996 and the program has continued to grow.

“The Providence Police Department and our Law Enforcement Advocates have worked together to build a strong partnership over the years,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “The relationship between our officers and LEA’s has proven invaluable when working with the innocent victims of domestic and sexual crimes and I am pleased to know that every department in the state will now benefit from this same partnership.”

The Law Enforcement Advocates are physically based within the police departments and fill a gap for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. When a police department identifies a case of domestic violence or sexual assault, the LEA is notified and reaches out to the victim to offer support and guidance. The LEA does not take the place of an attorney, but the advocate can help provide vital guidance and support to a victim during a time of extreme stress and confusion.

“Advocates throughout the state saw a serious need for advocacy in every Rhode Island community,” said Peg Langhammer, Executive Director of Day One. “Now, thanks to the expansion of this program, victims across Rhode Island will be supported every step of the way. In the last three years alone, Rhode Island LEAs have been able to support over 10,000 victims.”

Through the LEA, victims have access to services that are specific to their needs – such as emotional support, referrals for services, advocacy, and case assistance. Without safety planning, crisis intervention, and support services, victims of domestic and sexual violence will often return to their abuser. When victims feel supported and empowered to continue through the criminal justice process, more prosecutions proceed, and more offenders are held accountable for their actions, while victims and their families receive better outcomes.

“We focus on empowering victims,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “Facing an abuser in court can be re-traumatizing for victims of violence; they need to know that they are believed and supported in their decisions throughout the process. LEAs play that crucial role for victims and keep us all safer.”

The overall goals of the Law Enforcement Advocate program include working to reduce trauma to victims, helping victims access and understand the criminal justice system, ensure that victims receive appropriate support services, and acting as a resource for both victims and police officers in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I would not be here today if it weren’t for the consistent support of my advocates,” said Linda, a survivor of domestic violence. “My advocate helped me arrange a safety plan, gave me a safe phone, helped me file a restraining order, and supported me through that difficult and stressful process. I wouldn’t have a life without the advocates who helped me. They saved my life.”

Thank you for your support this year!

We truly could not have done it without you. As we work toward our vision of creating a community that is free of sexual abuse and violence, we hope that our goal can one day be realized because of dedicated supporters like you.

As we near the end of 2016, we felt it was appropriate to look back at the past year and share some of what your support has helped us accomplish.
Year in Review:
  • Received 3,803 calls through the helpline
  • 690 children and adults treated by our highly skilled clinicians
  • 70 youth received services after being commercially sexually exploited (trafficked)
  • Provided 25 groups for adolescents, women and men including trauma-processing yoga groups
  • 74 Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) trainings / 1,422 individuals trained
  • Provided “Your Voice Your View” program (prevention education) in 19 schools: 16 high schools and 3 middle schools / 1728 students visited
We cannot thank you enough for supporting our mission, participating in our events, and donating throughout the year. We are grateful to you, the thousands of Rhode Islanders who joined us in addressing the issues that are affecting our communities and helped Day One lead the effort to provide real solutions for both victims and those at risk.
As we make a final fundraising push, we are aiming to raise $22,000 by December 31st. If we raise that amount, we’ll be able to provide services and materials for victims including journals for survivors to help them process their thoughts and emotional pain after abuse, art therapy materials for sex trafficking survivors to express themselves through painting and other media, offer additional middle and high school students sexual abuse prevention skills training through classroom instruction, and so much more.

Please consider a donation of $50, $100 or whatever you can give to help us meet our end of year goal. Your donation will help us not just close the year, but start 2017 strong and ready to work on the front lines against sexual violence.

We truly appreciate your support, and look forward to supporting the community in the new year. Happy Holidays!


Peg Langhammer
Executive Director
Day One