On October 14, Academy Award nominated actress Viola Davis hosted The Rape Foundation‘s annual luncheon at Green Acres, the home of businessman Ron Burkle in Beverly Hills, CA.
Annually, the event is the largest fundraiser of the year in support of the Rape Treatment Center. Located at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and founded in 1974, the RTC provides free, expert, comprehensive, and compassionate care for sexual assault victims – children and adults – 24 hours a day.
Davis greeted several guests that included RTC President, Gail Abarbanel, actors David Schwimmer and Eric McCormack, actresses Sophia Bush and KaDee Strickland, Priscilla Presley, “Bull Dog” attorney Marty Singer, attorney Gloria Allred, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
Special guests this year also included Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly and her Chief of Staff Bruce Beemer, who were recognized for their commitment to finding justice for the victims in the recent Jerry Sandusky case.
Davis began working with the organization after she portrayed a rape victim counselor in the 2010 movie Trust, directed by former “Friends” actor, David Schwimmer, who along with the actress is a member of the Rape Treatment Center’s board of directors.
Davis was a gracious host and quite raw in her speech, sharing an emotional personal connection to the cause saying, “I wish my sister was sitting across the table from someone (like those here today) who could tell her that she isn’t dirty; that it’s not her fault.”
This year’s event featured a number of gut-wrenching personal stories from victims whose lives were changed (and quite frankly saved) by the counselors and assistance programs at the center. One story in particular left not a dry eye in the tent.
The event also honored famed television producer, Norman Lear (known for popular sitcoms such as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, and Good Times).
During Lear’s speech, he made reference to Edith’s 50th Birthday episode on All in the Family, in which a man posing as a police detective attempts to sexually assault the Bunker family matriarch on her 50th birthday. The episode was one of the first on television that portrayed an attempted rape.
“Isn’t it amazing that here we are in 2012 and we have political leaders in this country who make distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate rape,” Lear said in his speech. “We have to have eternal vigilance.”
Some sobering facts:
1 in 6 women is a victim of rape.
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.
Lindsay Taub is an LA-based writer/editor who covers travel, lifestyle, culture, music/arts, food, wellness, and more. She calls Los Angeles home when she's there, but prefers to leave the city for the mountains and open spaces as often as possible. She loves cooking, gardening, live music, hiking with her three rescue dogs, and rustic luxury. Follow her on instagram/twitter @lindsaytaub and follow the Pacific Punch @ThePacificPunch or email email@example.com. Learn more at www.lindsaytaub.com and www.voyagevixens.com .***