When it comes to the campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault and support peace over violence, CSULA service-learning students and their community partners are on the front lines. Celebrating Denim Day on April 25 as part of the International Sexual Assault Awareness Month
were two women who learned the importance of this issue while performing community service at the East L. A. Women’s Center, which offers many services, including the first free and
|confidential Rape and Battering Hotline in Spanish to citizens of Los Angeles. Iris Aceves, a senior completing graduate studies in English, first became involved in raising awareness about sexual violence following the unpopular|
|1999 verdict of an
Italian judge, who dismissed charges against a 45-year
old rape suspect because his 18-year old victim was
wearing jeans at the time of the attack. Now a fulltime volunteer at the Center, Iris
partnered with Robin Paredes, a senior in Sociology and
Chicano Studies and Co-Chair of the campus club Mujeres
Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS, Women Active in
Letters and Social Change), to staff the booth. Students visiting the booth created denim pins
while Iris and Robin shared with them information about
services available on campus and at the Center.
Both women credit their service-learning experiences as students in sociology and health and human services classes with inspiring their commitments to peace over violence and to the prevention of sexual violence. They especially credit the guidance of volunteer coordinator Sonia Rivera and the staff of the East L.A. Women’s Center. A committed partner to the university’s Educational Participation in Communities (E.P.I.C) program, which places service-learning students in agencies throughout the county, the East L.A. Women’s Center has been recognized throughout the state for its 30 years of service. As Sonia, who has served on the CSULA Service Learning Advisory Council since its inception in 2001, commented: “Once our volunteers come here and see the issues, they become so involved they want to keep giving back.” That certainly happened for Iris and Robin.