Chicago Culture, Celebrity, Arts & Entertainment
Chicago culture, arts & entertainment with Billy Dec

david schwimmer's "trust" w/clive owen, catherine keener, viola davis at the chicago film festival!

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ever since I was floored by my buddy david schwimmer’s play “trust” at the lookingglass theatre (click here for my review) about the story of an internet predator’s effect on a young victim & her family, and subsequently learned of the horrible amounts of sexual abuse & rape that occurs these days to children all around us (1 out of 4 girls, 1 out of 7 boys), I have been doing my best to seek out ways to support the fight against it.  I recently toured the facilities of chicago children’s advocacy center that treated 20,000+ women and children who were the victimes of rape and sexual assault since mayor daley created it ten years ago (and was so moved, I joined the board), I flew out to Los Angeles last week to attend the Annual Rape Treatment Center Fundraiser hosted by  the cast of “Glee” (click here for pics & “read more” below for detail), and now I am inviting you to join me & Schwimmer to support the fight at a private event after the chicago international film fest premiere of the movie version of “trust” (see trailer above) that he directed starring clive owen, catherine keener, & viola davis. will you join us?

I had the honor of being invited by schwimmer to the toronto film fest premiere of “trust” so I can tell you first hand that not only is this movie one you must not miss, but its also really cool to see it and support on a night it’s presented at a major film festival, like it will be at chicago’s international film fest on monday oct 18th at 8p.  if you can come, schwimmer will be presenting the movie himself and doing a q&a after, and then we will be hosting a two-hour private reception at Rockit Bar & Grill at 10pm w/cocktails & hors d’ouevres. Proceeds from the event will benefit Rape Victims Advocates & cinema/chicago. for tix and info: http://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/special_events/trust_fundraiser.php

I guess I need to say one more thing that many of you have heard me talk about on facebook & twitter. as proud, dedicated & supportive I am to the organizations above for all the help the give to enormous amount of victims out there, I think we need to also focus on how to help lessen the amount of victims out there by getting the word out, as I know this movie does, as it obviously has gotten me. so please, whether you can or can’t join us on this night, please help me/us spread this post around (shortlink: http://tiny.cc/xpxxw)… it may enhance awareness, stop a bad thing, make more people safe… thanks all.

about the rape foundation & its fund raising hosted by cast of fox’s “glee” from my assistant, katie rose cronin’s perspective:

I have been working for Billy for a little over 5 years now, I have loved every minute of it and have learned more than I ever imagined I would. As a thank you for half a decade of support, he surprised me with a trip to Los Angeles, the kicker, being able to meet the cast of “Glee” – my absolute favorite show! We attended a brunch to garner support for the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica and they were the celebrity hosts. I thought it was just going to be an exciting, star struck afternoon, but it was way, way more…..

It was so kind and generous of the cast to offer their time and their influence to help this cause. David has been on the executive committee for over 10 years now and has been actively dedicated to this tremendously important group. It was actually the Rape Treatment Center that inspired and helped him write and create the play and subsequent movie, “TRUST.” 900 supporters gathered at the sprawling estate of Ron Burkle,  a businessman who has graciously offered up his gorgeous home every year to host this event. It was so touching to see such a large group come together on a Sunday afternoon to learn more about the foundation and help raise funds and awareness for victims of rape and sexual assault.

I had prepared myself to hear more about the treatment center and looked forward to meeting the cast of tv’s most successful new show, but what I had not prepared myself for was the young women that summoned the courage to get up and talk about the horror they had been through and where they are today. We first heard from Nicole, as a freshman at a local California university, Nicole was rushing in a sorority and was invited to a fraternity dinner one evening with her pledge sisters. Little did she know the evening would end in her being “ruffied” and unconscious for over 12 hours only to awake naked, bruised and sore in a stranger’s bedroom the next day. Nicole struggled for months, feeling disgusted and used before she was able to tell someone besides close friends about what had happened to her and bravely  notified the school, ending in a very rare judiciary school court hearing, kicking the offender out of school, disbarring the fraternity and turning him over to local authorities. Even though I had never heard of or met Nicole before that day, as she stood up there and told us her story, I felt so proud of her and so happy she sought the justice she deserved and the treatment she needed.

Next we heard about a truly disgusting and disturbing story of a ESL teacher who for decades, yes decades, had physically assaulted and later raped dozens of his foreign exchange students over the years. Students of his had complained to the principal and their parents but shockingly, to no avail until one amazingly brave girl, Bianca, fought hard enough to get her story heard and finally, someone took notice and investigated her claims only to find that were sadly true. Years of video tapes, pictures and dvds were found of the teacher taking advantage of his students, he is now in jail. 8 former students of the teacher came up on stage and you couldn’t help but cry for them and what they had been through.

The Rape Treatment Center offers free care to victims and has seen children as young as 4 months old and adults as old an 90. They are seen immediately when they arrive at the center and are cared for by highly trained and compassionate professionals.

I was thrilled to meet the stars of Glee and will relish in that memory forever, but I am far more touched and forever changed by what I learned that day from The Rape Treatment Center and the victims they have cared for. Spare a moment today to check them out at http://www.911rape.org/home.

We actually have a very similar organization here in Chicago called The Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, an outstanding group of individuals that have dedicated themselves to helping and treating victims of rape and sexual assault right here in our own city, they actually treated more than 20,000 people last year. As sad as it is true, The CCAC would be a great group for anyone to volunteer at so please visit them at www.chicagocac.org.

5 Comments

  1. Lesley "Chase" Barton says:

    I first want to thank you Billy and let you know that I am grateful to you for writing this blog and getting involved in the fight against predators, sexual assault. and abuse.

    My father once said to me,

    “Just because you can take advantage of someone who is vulnerable, doesn’t mean you should”

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    I suggest that you also check out the work of the Chicago based Voices and Faces Project ( http://www.voicesandfaces.org ) and it’s founder Anne Ream, as well. The Voices and Faces objective is to create the first archive of it’s kind with firsthand accounts of survivors of sexual assault around the world.

    The Voices and Faces Project has been a champion in letting survivors know that they are not alone and in bringing these brave individuals out of the shadows of shame and blame by showing their faces and hearing their voices firsthand among many other ongoing initiatives.

    I’ve been awe inspired at the immense strength and courage in all of the survivors I have met, spoken to, and corresponded with over the years through the project and the outside world at large. Being a sexual assault survivor myself, I attribute The Voices and Faces Project and Anne Ream as the primary catalysts of bringing me out of the darkness and into the light.

    Anne Ream has written countless articles numerous periodicals including the Trib, Carol Marin did an amazing award winning story on the Project, the Justice Department has recognized the work they are doing, Anne also so deservedly was featured in a past issue of Chicago Magazine and People Magazine in their Heroes Among Us article for which I and two other amazing women were humbly asked to take part in. The list of the incredible work Anne Ream and The Voices and Faces Project is boundless and the number of survivors they have helped is countless.

    All of the organizations, articles, interviews, films, individuals, and especially the survivors should be commended for all they are doing to create awareness, fight the good fight, and for the heroic perseverance, courage, and strength in the face of such immense adversity. It is my greatest hope and belief that one day because of all the dedicated hard work, the time will come where there is a better understanding towards survivors and an end to the reprehensible and degrading inhumanity of sexual assault and abuse in all it’s forms.

    • billydec says:

      it’s such an important message- we need to do what we can to raise awareness, thanks for the support jessica!

    • billydec says:

      thanks for sharing lesley. i am happy to hear that there is such a great forum for people to communicate & people who will stand up and speak out against sexual violence. & i agree- whatever we can do to help get the message out whether it be through film, articles, individuals- we need to keep sharing with each other to raise awareness.

  2. Jessica McGee says:

    Billy, I just wanted to say thanks for getting the word out on such a great cause, one that is extremely important to me. Keep up such great work!

  3. Jennifer Hedrick says:

    This is a very important cause that is close to my heart…I was sexually assaulted at the age of 10 and never dealt with with it but after seeing Mr.Schwimmer’s play this past May it helped me to start the healing process and I am also looking forward to seeing the movie adaption of Trust

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