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SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS: How The Open Door Network protects victims in Arvin

The shelter is an emergency-stay facility for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking
Posted at 5:08 PM, Mar 29, 2024

ARVIN, Calif. (KERO) — The ODN has several emergency shelters around the county to provide a safe space for victims. Their shelter in Arvin opened last December and has been at capacity ever since.

  • Video shows how the Open Door Network (ODN) is bringing awareness to sexual assault and the services available to victims.
  • The ODN held displayed their denim collection, "Stitches" at the Bakersfield Museum of Art on Thursday. The display consisted of several jeans created by victims of sexual assault.
  • If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the network encourages you to call their hotline number, (661)327-1091.


According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)—every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. I joined the ODN during their "Stitches" display that honored Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Several pairs of jeans hung at the Bakersfield Museum of Art Thursday night to honor "Denim Day" celebrated on April 24th to protest against sexual violence.

"An overturning of a rape conviction in Italy, where a woman went in for her conviction and was not supported by the Italian Supreme Court because she was wearing jeans at the time of the incident," explained ODN CEO Lauren Skidmore.

The ODN offers support to victims through their emergency-stay shelters located in various locations throughout the county.

Their emergency stay shelter in Arvin opened last December. According to Ilene Parra, director of client services with the network, the shelter was highly needed to serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

"Victims can come and flee on-site," said Parra. "We have a housing specialist and a case manager, we have door monitors that monitor the doors 24/7, a cook is there so she cooks breakfast lunch, and dinner."

Parra added that since opening, the 16-bedroom facility has been at full capacity. But Due to limited space, she said everyone who calls is screened and only those in immediate danger are admitted.

"Statistics show that after you leave a relationship or when you're in the process of leaving a relationship your level of danger increases by 80% of the risk of homicide," stated Parra.

She added that sexual assault could happen to anyone at any time and due to limited resources in rural communities, victims living there don't have the opportunity to speak about it

"It goes into that push it under the rug, becomes family secrets, it's 'we won't tell anyone we'll deal with it internally,'" said Parra.

In an effort to protest against sexual violence, the network says, "We hope that April brings awareness to sexual assault. It's not something that the community likes to talk about—it's not something that we like to honor, but there are many people in our community that are survivors and we're really here to recognize them."

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, the network encourages you to call their hotline number, (661)327-1091.

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