I first met Gerardo six years ago when I was starting to volunteer for Rape Victim Advocates. He spoke to my training group about hate crimes and made me think about rape in a totally different way. He made the comment, 'imagine what the police reaction would be if you were engaging in S/M and your partner violated a safe word. ... How likely do you think it would be that they would believe you.' In the six years I have worked as an advocate and counselor for women and men who have been physically and sexually assaulted, I often think about Gerardo's words. It has caused me to be extremely open minded with my clients. It also has made me a much better counselor—I like to think that I am more convincing when I say to clients that no matter what they always have a right to say no—any act that they did not consent to is an act of violence.
Gerardo was someone who was a strong advocate that men are also victims of violence. I often remember him reminding people in the sexual assault community that men can be victims too. Most often though he reminded me of this. I don't know if Gerardo really knew me. We spoke a few times, and once we presented to the same class together-—however he did teach me a lot about the work I do now. I have been told by many clients that I am very non-judgmental. I haven't always been this way. I owe much of my non-judgmental attitude to Gerardo.
Gerardo is someone who will be missed by many people who work in the sexual assault community. I hope his memory and his ideals are remembered for many times to come.