While Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh were not mentioned at Sunday’s Rape Foundation Brunch in Los Angeles, there’s no doubt that the recent events surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation were on everyone’s minds.
The annual fundraiser benefits the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center for adult and child victims of sexual assault.
“It is so evident that we need to change the attitudes and conditions and the culture that renders so many victims silent and alone with their trauma,” this year’s honoree Jennifer Garner said. “We must make a commitment as a community and as a country to ensure that there are always safe places for victims to turn to for help.
“This is one of the most important remedies for the silence that has surrounded these crimes for centuries,” she continued. “The Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House are beacons of hope in a time that calls us to seek out and move as one towards light, where victims are heard and believed and their stories are proven to be true. Imagine the cultural shift when belief is the norm and sexual assault is no longer a crime committed with impunity.’
The brunch, which took place on the grounds of Ron Burkle’s Green Acres estate, also included remarks from several rape survivors, including a pre-teen who turned to Stuart House two years ago after disclosing that she was being sexually abused by her stepfather.
“I wanted to be here today to thank my Stuart House team,” the young girl said. “They believed in me when no one else did. They supported me when I felt alone. They stood by me through everything and they helped me find my voice. Some people said I was too young to stand up on this stage today but I really wanted to be here to honor them and to thank all of you for giving me Stuart House because I wouldn’t be standing here today without it. Thank you.”
David Schwimmer emceed the event as he has done for several years. Rape Treatment Center founder Gail Abarbanel first approached Schwimmer about getting involved when he was on “Friends.”
“She said traditionally historically all the discussion about rape and around sexual assault has been targeted towards women, what they could do, where could they go, how could they prevent being assaulted, but she also said it’s important to her that we reach men,” Schwimmer recalled to Variety. “And she said to me, ‘I think you’re the guy to do that.’…More and more victims are coming forward, which is terrific, but it also means there is more demand for more resources because we can’t keep up with the number of victims we’re seeing.
“I have friends [and] relatives who are survivors,” Schwimmer said. “I think it’s more prevalent than people have wanted to accept but it’s one in four girls and one in six boys. The good news is that the awareness is growing and hopefully more people are putting their time and energy and their resources into treating and helping victims.”
Others at the benefit included Eric McCormack, Beth Behrs, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Saffron Burrows, Sarah Drew, Tina Knowles and congressman Adam Schiff.