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Let them see your denim! 

Women’s Center honoring survivors of sexual violence


Submitted photo

The Clothesline Proje...
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Let them see your denim


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The 29th is "Denim Day" to send a message that what a person wears has nothing to do with sexual consent. The Women's Center in Waukesha provides services to survivors of sexual violence through events, crisis management and counseling. The Clothesline Project is another example of a moving event to honor those touched by sexual violence.

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Let them see your denim

  1. 1. Let them see your denim! Women’s Center honoring survivors of sexual violence Submitted photo The Clothesline Project, pictured here at Carroll University, allows survivors of sexual assault to write moving and inspirational messages. The Clothesline Project has been shown at Waukesha County Technical College and will be at The Women's Center next week. Bv Karen Pilarski Spbclal toThe Freeman WAUKESI-IA The Women’s Center will take part in Denim Day on Wednesday Denim Day is a national sexual violence pre- vention and education cani- paign. The Women's Center, 506 N. East Ave. , has worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence since 1977. Emergency shelter. a hotline and supportive counseling are offered free of charge Diane Ripple, director of programs and services at The Women's Center; said. " "This is an opportunity to raise public awareness of sexual assault. The idea orig- inated in Italy where a young woman was raped. " Ripple said the conviction of the predator in that case was overturned because the judge determined due to her tight jeans she would have helped the guy take them off. The judge felt it meant she was consenting and there- fore this wasn't sexual assault. Ripple said, “Anytime we can raise public awareness is great. This event allows par- ticipants to wear jeans to send a message that what a woman wears has nothing to do with her consent to sexual activity. " The same day staff meni- bers from The Women's Cen- ter will take part in a panel discussion on sexual vio- lence Over the lunch hour there will be a talk and opportunity for talkback. Ripple said, "lb be effective as an educational piece, the discussion has to be engag- ing and allow people to ask questions. " ‘A ersonal message ol ope‘ Another event highlighted this month is the Clothesline Project. which allows sur- vivois who are affected by domestic or sexual violence to express themselves by writing and decorating mes- sages on shirts. The project has been displayed at Wauke sha County Technical Col- lege and Carroll University Next week shirts will be dis- played at the center. Ripple said. "The shirts show a personal message of hope and is a moving experi- ence It is important for peo ple see this display for them- selves. " It is important to have a presence on college and uni- versity campuses, Ripple said. “Statisn'cally speaking. the demographic most at risk is anyone between 16-24 years old" Colleges have been focusing on what they can do make campuses safei: Ripple stresses that for all people in that age range. it is vital to hear these facts and get educated. “Students are away from home for first time: they might let their guard down. Also oonsider the bystander effect, which is when a large group of people observes something and no one inter- venes. " The heart of the matter Sexual violence is still prevalent in society. Ripple said, “Sexual assaults are a under-reported crime We want people to know help is available. " Men, women and children can use the center for crisis intervention. ongoing coun- seling through individual meetings and support groups. Ripple said, "1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will be victims of sex assault in their lifetime" Ripple wants the focus to be on the survivor instead of the perpetrator. “People often question behaviors of the survivor — what could she or he have done ditl°er- ently? Why not ask why the predator is acting that way? " The center works closely with Waukesha Memorial Hospital to provide emotion- al support and crisis inter- vention. Ripple said, "The center works with 300 women, men, children each year who experienced some type of sexual assault or abuse. " Survivors fear coming for- ward as it can be retrauma- tizing. Ripple said. “The cen- ter's purpose is to start by beheving We don't question why someone was walking alone or drinking, that is not the issue The issue is they experienced a horrible trau- ma" The oenter's mission is to help people process through trauma and start the journey of healing. Ripple said, “Peo- ple want to be heard and val- idated If people know we are available to listen. we hope they will reach out for help if they need it. "