By Luis Diaz
April is sexual assault awareness month, and the Sexual Assault Awareness Violence Education Team hosted a virtual workshop on Thursday.
The SAAVE conference focused on sexual violence toward men and women.
The virtual workshop explored the multiple points of view and defined sexual assault and rape. The conference was hosted by East Los Angeles College’s East Los Angeles Women’s Center’s Gabby Orozco. The workshop had two guest speakers, prevention specialists Osvaldo Cruz and Luis Mendoza.
One of the points discussed was the fear that accompanies the act of sexual assault.
Many teenagers and/or adults have fear of being able to stand up and talk about their experiences and live with that trauma.
A two minute video called “CONSENT, it’s simple as tea” gave a clear explanation of how not to force anyone in any way using the perfect example of tea. The video shows two people with one person forces the other one to drink tea when they don’t want to.
Cruz’s PowerPoint presentation said how important consent is. Cruz said there are certain factors when a person is asking for consent.
“If you see me in pictures, you will always see my hands behind my back and never on a person without asking them first if it’s fine” said Cruz.
“What made me become a prevention specialist was the fact that I have daughters and I just want to be able to make a difference so their lives are safe, and I also have boys, you know, and being able to guide them and helping everyone out there is what made me do this,” Cruz said.
Another video was presented in the workshop which demonstrated a group of people who read off a page explaining the trauma that an unknown person went through. At the end of the video the person whose past experience was written on the page came out.
“In many households it can be very tough to express certain experiences. Even when someone is crying, parents say why are you crying or stop crying,” Cruz said.
Sexual assault not only happens to women but it happens to men. The workshop showed that it is important to listen. This can help people understand other’s point of view it can help others respect their decision. ELAWC offers a variety of services for men and women. The Men’s Healing Circle is a safe space where men can come together to process life issues. These issues include childhood trauma, sexual trauma while also supporting the discovery of coping mechanisms, and tools for stress relief and healing.
The support group is virtual and registration is required. The group meets every Thursday starting April 7, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To register or for more information contact Luis Mendoza at Imendoza@elacwc.org.
East Los Angeles Women’s Center offers 24/7 Rape & Battery Hotline. The number to contact them is 1 (800) 585-6231. The main office can be contacted at (323) 526-5819.
Other ELAWC programs and services include the following: Individual Therapy, Support Groups, Parenting Class, Case Management, Accompaniments, 24/7 Hotline, Referrals & Advocacy and Volunteer Programs.