RAINN Speakers Bureau member Gregg Milligan last week made a brave appearance on The Oprah Show to speak about the physical and sexual abuse that he suffered at the hands of his mother. The appearance led to a record increase in victims getting help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline, which are operated by RAINN.
As a young boy, Milligan’s mother physically and sexually abused him, and invited others into their house to do so as well. He lived with shame and in absolute fear of his mother, who told him that if he told anyone about the abuse, he would be taken away to a boys’ home, where older boys would rape him.
Despite his childhood, Milligan has succeeded in academia, in the military, and, most importantly, as a father and husband. He was determined to break the cycle of abuse: Milligan has made sure that his son has never seen a hand raised to him, except for one to hold.
As a result of the inspiration Milligan provided on the show, the number of victims getting help through RAINN’s telephone hotline spiked by 993%, while the number helped by the Online Hotline increased by 192%. Overall, thanks to the extra effort of RAINN’s hotline staff and volunteers and the 1,100 local rape crisis centers with which RAINN partners, about 5,000 additional people received help in the days following Oprah.