A Chicago Thing

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

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/specialevents/trustfundraiser.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://bit.ly/b3BJGd) ... 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.



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1 Comment

ChicagoRVA said:


Thanks for bringing attention to this event, Billy! One thing I did want to clarify for readers - while the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center is a fabulous organization, it specifically serves children who have been sexually abused. If someone is seeking free services to adult and teen rape victims - counseling, advocacy and education/training - they should call the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline at 888/293-2080. Our organization, Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), also provides 24-7 crisis response to 11 hospitals across the city, and we depend on volunteers as well. RVA is proud and honored to be a beneficiary of the screening and after party on October 18 - thanks so much for hosting the reception at Rockit!

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