On top of working two jobs to support his family James Festi volunteers at the Center for Women in Crisis whose mission is to provide a caring, advocating, safe, and educationally based environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Unfortunately, because of the myths that revolve around rape and sexual assault, many victims suffer alone in silence and have no place to turn to for support. James helps both the primary and secondary victims by being that much needed support and by providing his time as a resource to the community. He helps educate the community about the issues of rape and sexual assault in hope that this will become more of a community issue instead of individuals suffering in silence.
As a member of the Utah County Rape Crisis Team, James is on call for a 48 hour shift once a month. During this shift, he is responsible for answering the Rape Crisis Hotline to answer questions and provide resources to victims. This Hotline serves as a resource to members of the community and professionals. If a rape or sexual assault occurs during his shift, James is responsible to support and advocate for the victim at the hospital or police station while they run through the process of reporting the rape. James also helps with community outreach and awareness events and has helped with the Rape and Sexual Assault Education classes that are offered in the community.
Working on the Rape Crisis Team can be emotionally exhausting. Helping people in crisis can be very challenging and difficult. It is also a huge time commitment. Just to be on the team, volunteers must go through 40 hours of training. The average stay of a team member is usually around a year. James is extremely committed to this cause and has been with the team for over 6 years.
James has become a role model to many people. Many individuals that choose to be on the team are female, but James saw the great impact he could have on the community through actively taking a stand against violence towards women as a male.
Due to the service that James provides, there have been hundreds, probably thousands of individuals that he has positively impacted. He has helped victims to feel understood, cared about and validated. He has helped guide victims to resources that are few and far between. He has helped so many victims and their loved ones find a safe haven in such a horrible time.
James nominator describes him, “He is extremely humble always trying to figure out ways he can be better. He continually is asking questions about up-to-date research and resources that are available to victims. He is very reliable and extremely proactive. He is emotionally compassionate, yet very logical. He provides such excellence support to victims in need. He goes above and beyond in all aspects. It is a privilege to know him. He is an amazing man.”