Chocolate lovers and wine enthusiasts will gather to support the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center this Saturday at its sixth annual Chocolate De Vine event at the Santa Barbara Greek Orthodox Church Event Center.
“One of the unique features of the event is that we try to move it to a different location each year,” said Elsa Granados, director of the Rape Crisis Center. Past venues included the Santa Barbara Woman’s Club, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and Island View Nursery.
Several local wineries will have the opportunity to show off their wine to guests, including Brewer-Clifton, Giessinger Winery, Imagine Wine, Palmina Wines, Riverbench, Summerland Winery and Whitcraft Winery.
“Several wineries come back each year because they really love the event,” Granados said.
Guests will also sample confections from chocolate makers, including vegan restaurant Adama, herbal chocolate specialists ChocolaTao, Brasil Arts Café, Isabella Gourmet Foods, Stafford’s Famous Chocolates, DivineChocolate, Piece of Mind, Mama Ganache and Renaud’s.
Chocolate makers will compete for recognition in a competition judged by pastry chef and owner of Cafe Fresco Mark Brouillard and chocolatier Jessica Foster. In addition to awards for the first and second outstanding chocolates, guests at the event will also vote for a chocolate to win the people’s choice award.
A silent and live auction to raise funding for SBRCC will feature notable items such as ¼-carat diamond earrings donated by Gaspar Jewelers, two vacation rental houses in Spain, and a lunch for two in Catalina including transportation via private plane.
Guests will be able to take advantage of free shuttle services to and from the event provided by Easy Lift Transportation.
The funds raised by the event will be used to fund the Rape Crisis Center’s education and counseling services. The center offers crisis intervention, counseling and support services for survivors of sexual abuse, as well as counseling for those close to them.
“Sexual violence is not about desire, it’s about power and control,” Granados said, adding that although experiencing an assault can make someone feel “like the control over their life has been taken,” she says the programs SBRCC offers to survivors are meant to “remind them that they have control over their lives.”
SBRCC also develops educational programs to educate the public about the prevention of sexual violence, offering a curriculum for discussing the issue with adolescents, as well as training programs for businesses and law enforcement.
Granados said the center aims to begin “meaningful conversations” about environments that create or tolerate sexual violence.
One way they do this with students is by questioning their choices to use derogatory language about women.
“When we hear students … using the b-word, the w-word, we say ‘stop and think about that! … What if somebody used those words on your sister, your grandmother, your aunt?’ Granados said. "They come to a different understanding of how hurtful those words can be.”