As part Sexual Assault Awareness month in April, the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center hosted the “Expect Respect” event at La Casa de la Raza. In coordination with Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, the day demonstrated the importance of developing healthy, loving relationships and respecting your partner.
Skits performed by the Isla Vista Teen Center demonstrated how to handle unhealthy relationships. Teen volunteers acted out scenarios of unacceptable behavior, and discussed why partners should show respect to one another. The main idea of the event is “to increase the understanding on the issue, and offer services to help people overcome their trauma,” said Jazmin Robles, Community Education Coordinator of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.
Booths set up around the hall offered pamphlets and information for dealing with sexual assault. Planned Parenthood, the Rape Crisis Center, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, and Pacific Pride Foundation were all in attendance. T-shirts decorated during the Girls Inc. Denim Day were strung along the walls like a banner. Each shirt color represented a different type of violence, and victims of crimes decorated each garment with a message, either about themselves, or with a message of hope for survivors. Aron Uribe volunteered at the event so he could earn community service hours, but reading the T-shirts gave him a better understanding of what the event represented. “It’s realistic, it’s more than just hearing speeches about it,” Uribe said. “It’s something real.”
The Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center has be helping victims, their families, and their friends cope with trauma since 1974. Through programs such as “Expect Respect,” the Crisis Center opens the floor for discussing issues that many are afraid to talk about. “This is something that’s engaging and needed,” said Grecia Lima, PUEBLO’s South County Organizer. “A good and safe space for our community members to discuss issues that affect us.”