June 2013

RAINN Combats "How-To" Guide
with New Campaign

rainn photo

In the wake of a campaign that funded a "seduction guide" with tips on how to commit a sexual assault, RAINN launched a campaign on crowdfunding site indiegogo to prove that there are more people who want to fight sexual violence than there are who advocate for it.

After news emerged last week of the seduction guide, RAINN heard from hundreds of supporters outraged that 732 people funded the publication of the "how-to" guide on sexual assault. The guide's "tips" included:

"Don't ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances."

"Pull out your [expletive deleted] and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don't ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your [expletive deleted]."

"Let's put our energy towards survivors and turn outrage into action," said Kate Hull, spokesperson for RAINN. "We urge our supporters to share this campaign via social media and get the word out that the people who take a stand against sexual violence out number those who condone it."

Kickstarter, which hosted the fundraising drive for the how-to guide, apologized for its decision not to terminate the project as soon as it became aware of it. In a post titled simply, "We were wrong," the company honestly addressed the mistakes it made and explained actions it was taking to prevent a recurrence.

Kickstarter also announced that it was making a large donation to support victims of sexual violence, saying, "today Kickstarter will donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization called RAINN. It's an excellent organization that combats exactly the sort of problems our inaction may have encouraged."

Join the campaign.

Spread the word.

Read more.

Supreme Court Upholds DNA Collection Laws
supreme court

In a big win for public safety and survivors of sexual violence, the US Supreme Court this month ruled that it is legal for police to collect DNA from people arrested for serious crimes.

"DNA has already aided nearly 200,000 investigations, and thanks to this decision it will continue to be a detective's most valuable tool in solving rape cases," said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's president. "We're very pleased that the court recognized the importance of DNA and decided that, like fingerprints, it can be collected from arrestees without violating any privacy rights. Out of every 100 rapes in this country, only three rapists will spend a day behind bars. To make matters worse, rapists tend to be serial criminals, so every one left on the streets is likely to commit still more attacks. DNA is a tool we could not afford to lose."

The federal government and 26 states currently allow DNA to be collected from those arrested for serious crimes, a number that is expected to grow now that the Supreme Court has upheld the practice.

Read Berkowitz's CNN Opinion piece.

DOJ Offers Strategic Changes for Victims Services, Recognizes RAINN
department of justice logo

The Justice Department wants services for victims of crime to move into the 21st century by making better use of technology and basing services on thorough research and evaluation. These are among the key recommendations of Vision 21: Transforming Victim Services Initiative, the culmination of a three-year process that involved input from a broad cross-section of leaders in the criminal justice field.

The report from DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime highlighted "Vision 21 Beacons," examples of innovative programs and practices that can help "light the way" into the future envisioned by Vision 21. RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is highlighted as a key example of technology, which has the potential to "greatly expand victim services through personalized and user-friendly applications that facilitate interaction among users and allow for broader and faster information sharing."

RAINN staff participated in several stakeholder meetings that helped shape the Vision 21 recommendations, and RAINN has committed to work with DOJ to ensure that the recommendations are widely adopted.

Read more about Vision 21.

Congress Clashes on Sexual Assault in Military
capitol dome

The Senate Armed Services Committee, siding with Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI), resolved to leave decisions about sexual assault prosecution in the hands of military commanders rather than removing those decisions from the chain-of-command. In a 17 to 9 vote, the committee approved Levin's approach over a competing proposal from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which would have turned such decisions over to independent prosecutors within the Defense Department.

The bill passed by the committee does require a senior military officer to review each instance in which a commander declines to prosecute a sexual assault case, and eliminates the ability of commanders to unilaterally overturn juries' decisions. It also makes retaliation against service members for reporting sex crimes a punishable offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; and requires the secretary of defense to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the training members of the armed forces receive on sexual assault prevention and response.

Gillibrand has vowed to continue fighting for the provision to remove prosecution decisions from commanders, and plans to try again when the bill goes before the full Senate for a vote later this year.

Sexual assault issues dominated the debate over this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which annually authorizes all military programs. The debate followed a report released by the Defense Department, which found that the number of military victims of unwanted sexual contact rose last year to 26,000.

Read more.


 RAINN in the News

orlando sentinel logo "People are taught as children to trust health-care professionals. That means people often let their guard down while being treated, and even may be more likely to let their boundaries be crossed."
— RAINN's Jennifer Marsh in the Orlando Sentinel

usa today logo "When we ask them how big their backlog is, most of the police departments we've talked to tell us they have no idea... And these are all open cases in which the victim has not gotten justice."
— RAINN's Scott Berkowitz in USA Today

glamour logo "Bertzikis' and Frazee's message — that assailants, not their victims, should be ashamed — marks a tremendous shift in attitude about sexual violence."
— RAINN's Katherine Hull in Glamour Magazine

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Senator Susan Collins
Sen. Susan Collins

"RAINN has been a powerful force in the fight against sexual assault. I share their commitment to this cause, and I am proud to have recently introduced several pieces of legislation in the Senate that would take serious steps to address the epidemic of sexual assault in our military. We must work together to guarantee support for victims of sexual assault and appropriately punish those responsible for committing these heinous crimes."
— Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Rep. Jan Schakowsky

"Too many women and girls in the United States are the victims of sexual violence and all too often they are left to deal with those assaults on their own. RAINN provides invaluable help – through their hotline and through their advocacy to those who so desperately need it. It is up to all of us to make sure that girls and women are safe in their homes and in their communities, and I am very proud to work with RAINN in that effort."
— Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

More News
RAINN 'EM IN 2013: A Galloping Success
rainn em in logo

This year's RAINN 'EM IN, a human-powered horse race where teams bounce on inflatable ponies in a fight against sexual violence, has passed the finish line, and the winners are survivors of sexual assault. Thanks to the hundreds of people who turned out for the events in Seattle, Lancaster, PA, and Washington, DC, the events raised enough to help more than 4,100 survivors get the help they deserve through the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

Jennifer Shipe, the Seattle marketing whiz who created the event for RAINN, says that this year's races exceeded all her goals... and that next year will be even bigger.

Learn more about RAINN 'EM IN and how you can join in next year's events with @rainnemin on Twitter and /RAINNEmIn on Facebook.

A 240-Mile Promise
never enough logo

Two days after Cleveland survivors Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were discovered after being held captive for over a decade, 28-year-old Alex Sheen made a promise: He would dedicate 10 days of his life to acts of kindness in honor of the survivors' perseverance. He volunteered to walk 240 miles across the state of Ohio in 10 days to raise awareness and funds for survivors of sexual violence. He calls his promise #NeverEnough.

Sheen is a man of his word. On Tuesday, June 25th, he completed his journey, ending at the location where Berry, DeJesus and Knight were imprisoned. He was warmly received and joined by more than 100 supporters: members of RAINN's Speaker Bureau, caring strangers and friends and family. Gina's mother, Nancy Ruiz, was waiting in front of the house to greet Alex. Cleveland Police Cmdr. Keith Sulzer was there to give Sheen a medal as a token of appreciation (Sulzer was heavily involved for in the search for the girls).

Read more.

Ricki Lake for RAINN: It's Never Too Late to Get Help.
ricki lake

In a new web PSA, actress, producer and talk show host Ricki Lake encourages those affected by sexual violence to get the help they deserve through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org).

Watch the video.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Amiress C. Versil
amiress versil
Amiress C.

"Often I felt like my fight against sexual abuse was meaningless; because I was fighting alone. Being in the RAINN Speakers Bureau confirms that my passion for speaking about sexual assault and the importance of getting help is not in vain. I am now a part of team of amazing people fighting the same fight together and saving lives."

Learn more about becoming a member of RAINN's Speakers Bureau.

Volunteer Spotlight: Adam Roenfeldt, Online Hotline Volunteer
Adam Roenfeldt

"It's been an amazing opportunity to help those in need. Work like this is testament to the goodness of people – despite the cruelty someone may face, that there will be advocates there to support and aid."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN.

Did You Know?
did you know

June is PTSD Awareness Month. Survivors of sexual violence are 6x times more likely to suffer from PTSD than non-victims. Learn more about PTSD warning signs and treatment.

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To get the latest news from RAINN about current issues, ways to get involved, and other information, join RAINN's Facebook page!

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