Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA), formerly Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, was founded in 1974 by Muff Bizwell, Nora Hochman, and Barbara Lindemann who identified a critical need in the community and decided to take action. These three women established Santa Barbara’s first-ever crisis hotline to address sexual assault. A small operation, it was run out of Muff’s garage, and staffed by a handful of volunteers.
In addition to the 24-hour hotline, the organization grew and expanded its services over the years to include in-person counseling, self-defense classes, and community education programming. Since its inception, the organization has served thousands of survivors of sexual assault and their loved ones.
In 2018, Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center became Standing Together to End Sexual Assault. This change was in response to community feedback, and based on the desire to more accurately represent the scope of services offered by the organization. STESA is more than a crisis center, it is an agent of community change. We invite you to stand with us!