Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Erin Thornley Parisi Highlight Denim Day

April 27, 2016
Stephanie Miller 608-267-8823
County Executive

With Sexual Assault Accompaniments Up 30% This Year, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Rape Crisis Center Executive Director Erin Thornley Parisi Highlight Denim Day


Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Rape Crisis Center Director Erin Thornley Parisi held a press conference to highlight Denim Day, a day to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness month. This year, for the first time ever,  Dane County partnered with the Dane County Rape Crisis Center to call public attention to sexual assault by asking employees to wear denim to help fight misconceptions and raise awareness about sexual assault.


This year alone, the Dane County Rape Crisis Center has made 136 trips to the hospital or law enforcement to accompany victims of sexual assault which is 30% more than last year at this time. The RCC has also taken 504 calls to their helpline.


“Sexual assault is a truly heinous crime and effects too many of our daughters, sisters, friends,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “We can’t stop this overnight. But we must fight against misconceptions, raise awareness and change how we address sexual assault as a society.”


Denim Day has been observed for the last 17 years on a Wednesday in April during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The day was triggered by a ruling in the Italian Supreme Court when a conviction for rape was overturned because the justices felt since the victim was wearing tight jeans she consented. The women in the Italian Parliament came to work in jeans the day after the ruling in solidarity with the victim. Wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against the misconceptions around sexual assault.


“I am delighted to have the on-going support of the County Executive and of all county employees who are wearing denim today to stand in solidarity with victims of sexual assault,” said Erin Thornley Parisi, Executive Director of the Dane County Rape Crisis Center. “Sexual assault is a major public health crisis in our nation that has a striking personal and community impact and it has been referred to by the medical community as a silent violent epidemic.” 


Every 107 seconds, another sexual assault occurs. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old.  One in two women and one in five men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime and one in five women and one in thirty-three men have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.


RCC services are free and provided to any victim of sexual assault and her or his support network regardless of age, gender identity or other status. Community education and outreach is designed to increase community awareness of the Rape Crisis Center’s free services and to create partnerships and community ownerships of the underlying beliefs and attitudes that have normalized sexual assault.  In 2015, RCC reached more than 4,900 men, women and teens through community outreach and education and taught assertiveness and self-defense risk-reduction to 233 students through the agency’s Chimera™ program.


To access services you can call the 24/7 Helpline (608-251-RAPE (7273))