One in three Utah women will be a victim of sexual violence.

The Rape Recovery Center supports victim, both women and men, during their darkest moments through a 24-hour crisis line, hospital response team and other programs. The Hope & Healing Gala, held at Westminster College’s Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory on April 25, supported those efforts.


Silent auction items at The Hope & Healing Gala

Last year’s gala raised about $85,000 for the nonprofit, but Holly Mullen, executive director, said she’s hoping this year’s total comes to $90,000. “And if we get $100,000, I’ll be doing cartwheels off the roof,” she said.

The money was raised through a silent auction of donated items (ranging from a getaway to Snowbird to a toy fire station), a silent art auction and a live auction (which featured a lavish home-cooked dinner by Chef Adam Kreistle). While it was all for a serious cause, the event was anything but solemn. “It’s important for the community to see we can come together around a very difficult topic and really have a great time,” Mullen said.

Guests enjoyed food and drinks from Bon Apétit, $25 cupcakes to support the cause and socializing while making bids on artwork. The featured art for the event and live auction was Caitlin Connolly’s “She Awoke from a Bad Dream and Realized a Sudden Feeling of Hope.”


Caitlin Connolly’s artwork for the live auction

“I was contacted by the Rape Recovery Center about a year ago, and they asked me if I’d be willing to do a piece specific to their theme of hope and healing,” Connolly said. “It’s just represents the idea of overcoming something difficult and finding hope on the other end.”

Other artwork at the gala:


"Motion to Move" by Aaron Fritz


"Mother and Child" by Carol Berrey


"Cheers" by Jacob Shirley


"Wild Night Last Night" by Taylor Johnson


"Winter Portrait" by Charlie Lansche

Artwork by sexual assault survivors, including this piece, "Betrayal" by a survivor named Jane, was also on display.


"Betrayal" by Jane

This year’s Pillar of Hope Awards were given to Rep. Angela Romero and Deondra Brown of The 5 Browns. “Both were active in the legislative battle to get sexual prevention education to the grade school level,” Mullen said. Anna Donnell, a court room advocate for sexual assault victims, was named Volunteer of the Year.

“It’s a worthy cause, and they do so much with so little,” said Catherine Garff, head of the board of directors. “Every dollar raised here goes straight to helping people who are going through a terrible thing.”

The signature drink of the evening: consensual sex on the beach.


Consensual Sex on the Beach