Boulder County’s only sexual violence resource center celebrated its 50th anniversary in the evening on Thursday, Oct. 20.
“I think the fact that we’ve hit 50 years and we’re doing great and thriving is something I’m really proud of,” said Dr. Janine D’Anniballe, director of Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA).
MESA has provided Boulder County with educational sexual violence prevention resources and sexual violence survivor support since 1972. A fundraising event called “The Brave, Bold and Beautiful” celebrated its 50 years of history and service.
The event featured a silent auction and wine pull for guests to participate in. Proceeds from these events went towards the organization. After an hour, past and current staff members of MESA spoke to the audience about the non-profit’s history and the stories they’ve heard over the years.
Featured speaker Anne Munch, an attorney of over 30 years and an advocate against sexual violence, told the audience about some of the sexual violence cases she had worked on. She repeated the words “brave,” “bold” and “beautiful” when describing the survivors in these cases and the work that she and other advocates did.
“This is an incredible ride that all of us are on, on behalf of survivors of sexual violence. We stand on the shoulders of amazing people, all of us do, and we only hope someday to inspire people to stand on ours,” she said at the event.
After Munch’s speech, D’Anniballe addressed the crowd. She has been the director of MESA for 23 years. During this time, she has made multiple changes to the non-profit, including creating a text hotline for survivors of sexual violence.
“Our roots are in service to survivors of sexual violence so that no person, no family, no friend of a survivor has to go through that trauma alone,” said D’Anniballe in her speech.
D’Anniballe said her goal for the anniversary fundraiser was to raise $10,000. She said she plans to use this money to fund prevention education programs in the Boulder community for issues on rape culture and sexual violence.
However, she said this currently does not extend to the University of Colorado Boulder campus because the university prefers to handle prevention education within its system.
“We will, of course, want to respect that… but we would love to be involved for any kind of collaboration if there was ever that opportunity,” she said.
In a statement, MESA reported that it provided ongoing advocacy for 296 clients between January 2021 and July 2022. It also reported an increase in hotline calls over the last fiscal year, counting 2,880 clients in that time frame.
“This [sexual violence] is within all of our control,” said D’Anniballe. “We can walk out tonight and do it differently. We are moving to end sexual assault.”
Contact CU Independent Senior News Editor Isabella Hammond at email@example.com.