Students at College of the Desert are showing their support for sexual assault survivors, hoping to prevent sexual violence and help victims move past their pain. Sophomore, Adriana Orduno has a close friend, who’s a victim of sexual assault. She tells us, “It really destroyed them and made them afraid to talk to their family about it at all. And it really hurt, because it was an elder that I looked up to.”
Her friend didn’t get any help and she wishes she had. Orduno says, “She would have been happier now. It probably would’ve helped her a lot.”
That’s why Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services is reminding everyone they’re not alone. Program Director, Winette Daugherty says, “That’s our goal. It’s to let them know that we’re here for them. Sexual assault services are free of charge. We have a 24-hour hotline.”
That number is (760) 568-9071. And someone is always available, thanks to volunteer victim’s advocates, like Bonnie Craven. She says, “It’s just simple compassion, coming from your heart, helping another human being.”
During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, they’re asking those 16 to 24 years-old, to look the problem in the eye and see a survivor’s face, that’s able to move past the pain. Craven says, “To allow themselves to grieve. To allow themselves to go through the pain and be in that pain a little bit. But you’re not a victim anymore. You’re a survivor.”
They’re hoping to get a thousand men to sign a campaign, against sexually violent crimes. College of the Desert, Sophomore, Luis Sierra signed the pledge. He says, “”I believe we need to be more united, in trying to confront it.”
United in creating awareness and prevention, especially with events like Coachella and Stagecoach, coming up. Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services tells us they’re aware of 5 incidents last year, during Stagecoach alone. Daugherty says, “We have major back-up coverage for the whole month of April, because of these events and perceiving things to happen.”
They encourage everyone to be aware and to stay in groups of friends. Daugherty says, “Watch your surroundings. If you’re with a group of people, stay with that group. Everyone needs to watch out for each other and stay together.” Something that’s essential, in taking a stand against these life-changing crimes.
Tonight, there will be a candlelight vigil, to show support for sexual assault survivors. It will be held in the Palm Desert Civic Center amphitheater, at 6:30.
For more information on Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services, log onto: www.sbsas.org/Volunteer, or call (760)568-9071.