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  • Get Off the Bench!

    Get Off the Bench!

    October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Our statewide public awareness campaign "Get Off the Bench!" features URI student athletes saying NO MORE to dating and domestic violence. This October, be on the lookout for the campaign on RIPTA buses, PANDORA, and at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Domestic violence impacts all of us, and will take all of us, together, to end it. How will you “get off the bench”? How will you play your part?
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  • Ten Men Summit

    Ten Men Summit

    Rhode Island men, you're invited to the 3rd annual Ten Men Summit on Thursday, October 27, hosted by Providence College! This event is designed for men and led by men who want to play an active role in preventing domestic violence in our communities. All individuals who identify as male are welcome. Come be a part of the conversation about how men can help prevent violence against women and girls. The event is free to attend! Doors open at 5:00 p.m. A complimentary dinner will be provided, thanks to our generous host and sponsor Providence College. To register, visit
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  • Behind Closed Doors

    Behind Closed Doors

    **TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT** To inquire about the waiting list, please contact Shannon Cordeiro at** Do not miss the final performance of Behind Closed Doors at Trinity Repertory Company this October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Behind Closed Doors is an original play written and performed by 15 survivors of domestic violence from SOAR, Sisters Overcoming Abusive Relationships, a task force of the RICADV. The performance is a true account of their experiences with domestic violence, hope, and survival, seeking to draw you into their lives to dispel the stigmas of this often misunderstood abuse.
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  • New Resource for RI

    New Resource for RI

    Now more than ever, people are becoming aware of and outraged by the harmful impacts of domestic violence. With primary prevention, we can stop the violence before it happens in the first place, before people ever become victims or perpetrators of abuse. To learn more, check out this new resource created by the RICADV!
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  • "The Way Home" Charm

    Alex and Ani has partnered with the RICADV and the National Network To End Domestic Violence to launch the CHARITY BY DESIGN charm bangle “The Way Home.” When you purchase your bracelets through the RICADV, 50% of the proceeds go toward supporting our work to end domestic violence in RI. You can purchase bracelets in person at the RICADV’s office in Warwick Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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  • Latino Outreach

    Latino Outreach

    Oprima el botón “Read More” para acceder a nuestro sitio web en Español.

    At the RICADV, we proactively serve Latino communities and work to raise awareness about the help that is available through our member agencies. Each agency offers diverse programs and services that can include safety planning, court advocacy, shelter, and support groups. Immigration help is also available. Access our website in Spanish by clicking the "Read More" button below or En Español at the top of this page.

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The Newsroom

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Latest News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, October 17, 2016

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence issues Request for Proposals for programs that aim to prevent domestic violence before it starts

Through the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, $180,000 will be distributed to support local programs that aim to prevent domestic and dating violence

[Tuesday, October 17, 2016 – Warwick, RI] Rhode Island is taking a big step towards preventing domestic violence, as the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) begins accepting proposals for short and long-term programs aimed at stopping intimate partner violence before it starts. 

Thanks to the newly established Domestic Violence Prevention Fund, which was signed into law earlier this year by Governor Gina M. Raimondo, the RICADV will be distributing $180,000 to support evidence-informed domestic violence primary prevention programs in Rhode Island. 

“We are broadening the focus of our work to include domestic violence primary prevention, and investing in long-term strategies to change the social norms that condone domestic violence,” said Deborah DeBare, Executive Director at the RICADV. “Supporting both short and long-term initiatives will enable us to reach diverse communities and populations throughout Rhode Island.” 

. . .

Read More: Latest News

Legitimate Rapes: A 2012 Bluster and Opportunity in 2013 to Discuss Sexual Assaults 

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by Jessica McCauley
Child Counselor, Sojourner House

"Legitimate rape."  

It was late summer, 2012, and Todd Akin, a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Missouri running for a 2012 U.S. Senate seat, was being interviewed on St. Louis television. He had just answered a question about his views on women who became pregnant due to rape and whether they should have the option of abortion. He also gave us one of the year's most ridiculous catch-phrases and menacingly misguided statements on the topics of women's health and violence against women uttered during the 2012 election:

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Outrage ensued. One reason is because Akin's remarks came after decades of research, advocacy, systems change, and public engagement, especially work that revealed the prevalence of acquaintance rape (also called date rape). Whereas a common misconception about "legitimate" rapists is that they are strangers that jump out of bushes or dark alleys, the reality is that most often sexual assaults are committed by is a friend, family member or date.

But Representative Akin's statement also brought up the question: What kind of rape isn't legitimate in the eyes of Akin and others who share his views?

"What kind of rape isn't legitimate?"

For women's equality advocates and those trying to end violence against women, it was not a surprise to hear that someone had views like those expressed by Akin (though it was maybe surprising that he would make them in as compounded a public arena as a television interview in an election year). Here are some other aspects of sexual assault that are opposed, misconceived, disbelieved, unacknowledged or misconstrued:

  • Statutory rape, where both parties may have consented, but one is under age on the books. This is considered rape because the younger person was not old enough to make an informed or an emotionally mature decision, and therefore gave consent under the pressure or manipulation of an older individual.
  • Rape where force was not used to fight against the perpetuator? Unfortunately, it is not widely known that there are actually three responses the body automatically produces to threat of harm: fight, flight and freeze. While most people have heard that the reptilian part of our brain involuntarily reacts by fighting or running, a third response is just as common: freezing. This may be seen when an animal in the wild becomes immobile in the hope that a predator will pass them by unseen. Our brains elicit this response as well. This experience has been likened to being paralyzed. A person in freeze mode may very well want to fight off the aggressor, but they are literally unable to move. This feeling adds to the trauma of the incident, especially if the survivor feels somehow at fault for not struggling.

Yes, No, and a Better Understanding of Consent

Another topic that is commonly misunderstood is the issue of permission and "consent."  Human rights law and standards in the International Criminal Court includes the following statement:  "Consent need not be expressed, and may be implied from the context and from the relationship of the parties, but the absence of objection does not of itself constitute consent. In other words, a lack of a no is not a yes!  For example, a person who seems uncomfortable, unsure or hesitant about a sexual act is not consenting, even if they have not specifically used the word no. An individual who cares about the feelings, wishes and desires of their partner will notice that they are not willing. While people should be encouraged to speak up, it is also imperative to recognize the past life experiences that may make this difficult for some to do so.

Another misconception about consent is that it need only be given once. This comes into play with marital, or spousal, rape (a form of domestic violence); while now outlawed in every state, the last state to enact this law did so in 1993! (The first was in 1975.) There are still some countries where it is not an official crime, because historically consent was assumed in the marriage contract (National Center for victims of Crime.) However, no matter how many times two people have had sex in the past, a partner must give consent each and every time.

Legitimately Affected

Imagine this: an annual holiday where he has to face his abuser; a date with a fellow student that goes too far; an uncle who spends more and more time with his niece; a husband who forces his wife to engage in sex as part of a cycle of violence he imposes.  This is the reality for many:

  • 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.
  • 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

Conflicting feelings may arise within a person who is taken advantage of by someone they cared for and/or trusted.  Complicated or not, all victims of sexual assault face "legitimate" challenges and barriers to overcome, and perpetrators and rapists are the ones that need to be shut down.  


So as we look back at 2012, and at the words of Congressman Akin, we recognize both a low point in terms of how misinformed and out-of-touch some really are about sexual assaults and women's health, and a high point in terms of the number of people across the country who responded in outrage to his remarks. Nationally and here in RI the community is saying NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. And like those who voted for Akin's opponent, we are also saying NO MORE to leaders who are misinformed, disconnected, or working without our best interest in mind. For more information, visit or call 401-467-9940.

Communications Center

  • Handbook for Journalists +

    We work with the Rhode Island media to increase awareness about domestic violence, the services and resources available, and the ways the community can get involved. The press can help break the silence and educate the public. Visit the RICADV's "Online Guide for Journalists" for best practices on covering domestic violence.
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  • Public Awareness Campaigns +

    Public awareness campaigns are one way we can keep the issue of domestic violence visible, provide information about community resources, and engage all Rhode Islanders as active bystanders.
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Site Search

Teen Center

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Relationship abuse impacts young people, too. Visit our Teen Center to find resources and information for young people in RI.


  • Be Tech Safe
  • News & Events
  • 35 Years of Progress
  • AmazonSmile

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Your abuser may monitor your Internet use and may be able to view your computer activity.

To immediately leave our site and redirect to a different site, click on the box to the bottom-right of our website or hit the ESC (Escape) key on the upper-left of your keyboard.

If you feel that your computer is not secure, use a computer in another location that your abuser cannot access.

For more information and tips for staying safe online and on your devices, click "Read More" to visit the Privacy & Technology section of our website.

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Looking to get involved in the movement to end domestic violence?

Visit our Calendar of Events to find local and
online events.

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spotlight image lisaleslie35th Anniversary Celebration

In 2014, the RICADV celebrated 35 years of progress in advocating for victims and holding abusers accountable.

On October 9, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we commemorated this milestone with special guest Lisa Leslie, WNBA legend, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and supporter of the national NO MORE campaign against domestic violence.

We thank everyone who has played a part in helping us move our work forward. Together we can end domestic violence.

Visit our 35th anniversary page to watch a special video, view photos of the event (coming soon!), and more.

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AmazonSmile-webWhat is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support the RICADV every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to the RICADV.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Choose the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence to support us. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation.

About the RICADV

The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence (RICADV) is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence. We were formed in 1979 to support and assist the domestic violence agencies in Rhode Island. We provide leadership to our member agencies, strive to create justice for victims, and raise awareness on the issue of domestic violence in Rhode Island.

Member Agencies

The RICADV's five local domestic violence agencies provide a wide array of services for victims, including 24-hour hotline support, emergency shelter, support groups, counseling services, and assistance with the legal system. For more information about these organizations and services, call the statewide Helpline at 800-494-8100 or click here. If you hear or see someone being hurt, call 911 immediately.


Contact Details

422 Post Road, Suite 102
Warwick, RI 02888-1539

T (401) 467-9940

F (401) 467-9943