Sexual Assault, It’s Not Just For The Rich And Famous

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Portraits of sexual assault survivors by Ashley Obregon for her “Picture the Difference” project, displayed at Project Sister’s “Imagine Standing Up” event held at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona on April 24. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

Audience members at Project Sister’s “Imagine Standing Up” event at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona read the stories and view the portraits of sexual assault survivors, part of Ashley Obregon’s “Picture the Difference” multi-media exhibition. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

At the event, PSFS employees and volunteers read the personal stories of sexual assault survivors and victim advocates.

Picture the Difference, spearheaded by Obregon, also a survivor of sexual assault, presented a multi-media exhibition featuring portraits and audio recordings of survivors, telling their stories in their own words.  Obregon seeks to empower assault survivors by helping them tell their own stories.

People read the stories and view the portraits of sexual assault survivors, part of Ashley Obregon’s “Picture the Difference” multi-media exhibition at Project Sister’s, “Imagine Standing Up,” event at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

Jose Hatem, outreach service specialist, speaks softly. He has a soothing voice and an extremely gentle manner. With every word, he seems to offer compassionate reassurance, so speaking with him has an immediate calming affect.

“The more you go out to help people, the more fulfilling the job is,” Hatem said.

Even though sexual assault is a difficult subject, Hatem said PSFS focuses on the positive change and healing they provide to sexual assault survivors rather than the darkness of the trauma.

A t-shirt from a kidnapping victim on display in the offices of Project Sister Family Services in Pomona. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media
Project Sister Outreach Services Specialist, Rebecca Soon, addressed the audience at “Imagine Standing Up,” at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

In contrast to Hatem’s quiet, gentle mannerisms, Setaghian has an an enthusiastic intensity when she speaks. She is expressive as she speaks. Her optimistic enthusiasm  for helping people get better is almost tangeable.

T-shirts on display outside the dA Center for the Arts for Project Sister’s “Imagine Standing Up” event. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

Saulman’s energy seems to fall somewhere in between Hatem’s and Setaghian’s. She has a quiet gentleness that is reassuring, but her intensity increased, and she became more emphatic when she discussed helping others.

T-shirts on display outside the dA Center for the Arts for Project Sister’s “Imagine Standing Up” event. Photo Credit: Doug de Wet/SAC.Media

Sometimes victims are afraid to get help because they don’t want their abuser to get in trouble.

“Everything is confidential…We have very strict privacy policies,” Saulman said. “Our goal is to make sure the individual is taken care of and to make sure they get the help they need. It’s not to try to get people arrested or prosecuted. We focus on the individual and their healing process.”

To learn more about Project Sister, the services they offer or to get involved as a volunteer, visit their website.