Jennifer Garner Has a Spot-On Message for Rape Culture: ‘We Need to Change’

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner speaks onstage during The Rape Foundation's Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.  Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for The Rape Foundation

Jennifer Garner is speaking out for victims of rape and sexual assault.

As this year’s honoree at The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch on Sunday, October 7, Garner made her stance on sexual assault and rape culture in current society clear. “It is so evident that we need to change the attitudes and conditions and the culture that renders so many victims silent and alone with their trauma,” the Peppermint actress, 46, said in her remarks. “We must make a commitment as a community and as a country to ensure that there are always safe places for victims to turn to for help.”

ennifer Garner
Actress Jennifer Garner arrives at The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

She went on to praise the Foundation’s work. “This is one of the most important remedies for the silence that has surrounded these crimes for centuries. The Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House are beacons of hope in a time that calls us to seek out and move as one towards light, where victims are heard and believed and their stories are proven to be true. Imagine the cultural shift when belief is the norm and sexual assault is no longer a crime committed with impunity.”

The annual brunch raises money for The Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Stuart House, the branch of the Foundation that serves sexually abused children. In an Instagram photo Garner posted later that day with the Foundation’s President, Gail Abarbanel, she wrote: “At today’s Rape Treatment Center brunch, #GailAbarbanel said it perfectly, ‘This is not a political issue, this is not a partisan issue, this is a human issue.’ We can all agree that victims of rape and sexual abuse deserve to be treated with care and respect. To be heard.”

Her comments come ten days after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified she was sexually assaulted in the 1980s by Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. After an FBI probe, Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court on Saturday, October 6, in one of the slimmest margins in the country’s history. The events caused many people, including celebrities, to reveal their sexual assaults.

Plenty of other Hollywood stars came out to support the non-profit at their Beverly Hills event. Beth Behrs shared her connection to the Foundation with Us. “The Rape Treatment Center is superpersonal to me, it’s where I took my sister the morning after her assault and we call the women who work here our angels, especially Gail,” the 2 Broke Girls alum, 32, told Us. “I could not think of a better place to be today.”

Beth Behrs
Beth Behrs attends The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

For Behrs, the resources the RTC offers are what sets it apart. “This organization truly changed our lives. I had heard that taking somebody to an emergency room could be almost even more traumatic… so I had Googled where to go and this actually was the first thing that came up,” she continued. “When you walk in, you don’t feel like you’re at a hospital. There’s therapists right on staff to be there with you. You’re in a safe environment, a warm environment, all the medical services are right there, the police that they work with are right there and know how to be trained to do this, and I just every day thank God for this incredible organization.”

Eric McCormack
Eric McCormack attends The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Eric McCormack says he and his wife, Janet Holden, have been supporting the center, founded in 1989, for the past 20 years. “The stories that you hear here are harrowing stories,” the Will & Grace star, 55, told Us. “Mostly young women, sometimes children and sometimes men will just describe what they went through and how immediately the Rape Treatment Center and Stuart House took them in and believed them and supported them and gave them what they needed.”

Sarah Drew
Sarah Drew attends The Rape Foundation’s Annual Brunch on October 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Many of the cast members of This Is Us, including Mandy Moore — who has spoken out on sexual assault before — Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz also attended. Grey’s Anatomy alum Sarah Drew also bought a ticket to show her support. “Especially with what’s going on in our country and especially this week, I just am blown away, first off, by the statistics of how many women and children are affected and are victims of sexual abuse. It’s staggering,” the 38-year-old actress told Us. “This is just a one-stop place to take care of victims in this really horrific moment of their lives. So where else would I be on a Sunday? It feels right, it’s a great organization and I’m glad to be part of it.”

With reporting by Emily Marcus

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