When we began, rape crisis centers were just emerging around the country, arising from the Women’s and anti-violence movements of the 60’s and 70’s. Many of those, including our agency, came from a pro-feminist perspective. They believed that without addressing underlying root causes, there would be continued systemic violence, and with violence there could be no true equity. From those early years, we viewed sexual assault as an outcome and weapon of oppression and understood that you could not end the violence without changing the underlying social norms. We viewed sexualized violence as a social justice issue and recognize the contributing factors of intersections of racism, classism, genderism, ableism, transphobia, and homophobia and all other forms of discrimination or “othering.” Through the years, our understanding of sexualized violence expanded and grew to encompass non-stranger assaults, intimate partner violence, child sexual abuse, sexual abuse against boys and men, violence as hate crimes against the LGBTQI community and communities of color, and trafficking and exploitation.
Originally named Humboldt County Rape Crisis Team (HCRCT), The North Coast Rape Crisis Team (NCRCT) was established in 1972 through the actions of committed volunteers. Arising from grassroots movement strategies, a group of volunteers saw a need and decided to serve their community. This was a time when rape crisis centers were just emerging across the country in response to injustices within systems of response and a lack of knowledge and awareness throughout most communities. Local volunteers began their work with a core set of values-which have been maintained throughout the years-including the “feminist” values of equality, equity, believing in the rights of every individual to live free from violence, understanding that sexualized violence is both a tool of and outcome of many intersections of oppression, knowing that those who survive violence are the best teachers, and that the community as a whole has a role to play in manifesting what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as “Our Beloved Community.” NCRCT strives to provide survivor-centered, free and confidential services to people of all ages, genders, and circumstances, regardless of how recent or long-ago traumatic experiences occurred. Believing that only through deep change of social norms can we hope to reach our Vision, we also provide primary prevention, education, and raising community awareness through a wide variety of age and culturally specific programs.