From Lauren DaSilva, MCRCC Executive Director
May 10, 2023
We are so thankful for all of our supporters who showed up to celebrate the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center’s 50th birthday at the Together with Love Dinner!
In the 1950s and 1960s, women who were involved in the civil rights movement talked to each other about their experiences of discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual assault. These women realized more and more that what they were experiencing as individuals was actually something women were experiencing collectively in the United States and throughout the world. Women talking about their individual experiences became known as consciousness raising and the cornerstone of the second wave feminist movement.
It was this consciousness raising that led a small group of women in Pacific Grove, California to organize in 1973. These women were outraged by the treatment of survivors by the systems meant to support them and, in response, they created the first helpline in Monterey County and the Monterey Rape Crisis Center was established. In addition to working, full-time parenting, and their other community activism commitments, they took days- long shifts on the helpline to ensure survivors were supported anytime of the day or night.
50 years later, we are the continuation of that legacy started by a small group of women sitting next to a landline who wanted to change the world. It is because of those women that thousands of survivors have received the help and care they deserve in the aftermath of a sexual assault.
On May 6 at MCRCC's Together with Love Dinner, we celebrated and honored those women’s vision of a future in which survivors are supported and sexual violence is eradicated from our society, their commitment to that vision, and the tenacity and perseverance to see it though.
We also honored our own vision, commitment, tenacity, and perseverance.
For half a century MCRCC has been providing ongoing advocacy, support and healing to victims and survivors of sexual assault, human trafficking and child abuse; and preventing sexual violence in our community through education. It has been possible to make progress on that mission because of each one of you - staff, volunteers, board members, donors, community partners, medical providers, attorneys and prosecutors, public servants, politicians, educators, therapists, healers, artists, business owners, bankers, realtors, journalists. It is through our collective efforts that MCRCC is a stable, longstanding organization in our community.
Though this effort is a collective one, no one has put in more time, intention, or skill into it than its Executive Director of 34 years Clare Mounteer. Clare built MCRCC up from a small grassroots organization with a very small budget to the medium sized nonprofit it is today with four programmatic areas, 23 staff, and a multi-million dollar annual budget. Clare did all that building while she supported survivors on the helpline, at sexual assault foresnic exams at the hospitals, and in establishing programs, partnerships, and policies that support survivors wherever needed in our community.
Clare is my forever boss, my mentor, and my friend who models what our movement strives for - consistency, kindness, strength, and humor.
I want to say thank you to MCRCC staff, volunteers, and board members. There are lots of ways to make a positive difference but you choose to do it here at MCRCC. Taking helpline calls and finding to a private spot to take the call in the middle of a first date, the middle of the night, during a wedding speech; or rushing to the hospital or police department to meet a survivor despite floods, sleet, or hail is the most serious kind of commitment you can have to a job or volunteer position. It is through your commitment that we are able to push the movement to end sexual violence forward.
Your presence in some of the most difficult moments of a survivor's life lets them know that our community is outraged at what has happened to them and they are not alone.
The next 50 years of MCRCC will be making sure that every survivor in Monterey county regardless of where they live or the language they speak can easily access MCRCC’s services. And in 100 years there will be no sexual violence in our community!
Thank you, as always, for your continued support.