Ruth Place, established by the National Council of Jewish Women Arizona, is now open after five years of preparation and planning. According to NCJW AZ President Civia Tamarkin, the idea for the center, which is housed in the Scottsdale United Methodist Church, came from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego after she took office in 2019.
“It was Mayor Kate Gallego, newly elected, who first approached me with the idea that there was a need for a center like this to fill a gap in the community,” Tamarkin said. “Other than costly private therapy and residential facilities around the country, there was nothing to meet the needs of survivors of sexual violence who suffered from the chronic and complex trauma that had plagued them.”
Gallego told Phoenix New Times she wants to see more facilities for survivors of sexual trauma, adding that the city is upgrading its Family Advocacy Center on Central Avenue and Encanto Boulevard to make it more comfortable for people seeking services there.
"This is a magical place," Gallego said at the event. "It's a comfortable place with beautiful design, where you can feel the power of the healing and the support of the community."
‘Moving out of the trauma responses’Ruth Place, which is named after the Hebrew word for "compassionate friend," will offer a six-month, three-phase treatment plan. Treatment will be aimed at helping people of all backgrounds who have suffered from sexual violence “move past surviving and into thriving,” according to Camea Peca, Ruth Place's program director.
Peca designed the curriculum, which she said focuses not on what has gone wrong for the survivors but instead on what is positive in their lives.
“Our whole model is based on building on all the amazing skills, beauty and strengths that everyone has inside of them and moving out of the trauma responses that are just the body’s normal response to what’s happened,” Peca said during the event.
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega told New Times that the city works with several social service providers that will refer survivors of sexual violence to the center.
“Ruth Place is an essential addition to the portfolio of services that Scottsdale has for domestic violence,” Ortega said. He added that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness and bankruptcy. “I think the expertise and care in designing this facility is really going to pay off,” he remarked.
Janet Bentley, founder of Courageous Survivors and a survivor of sexual violence, said her organization will guide people to Ruth Place and that the program will offer a way for survivors to heal from their past experiences.
“I believe with all my heart that Ruth Place will change survivors’ lives for the better,” Bentley said.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office offers resources for victims, including two emergency hotlines and a list of shelters in the Valley. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).