July 2013

Cleveland Victims Release First Public Statement, Thank Public for Support

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In a courageous web video released this month, the three women who were kidnapped and imprisoned in a Cleveland home for over ten years made their first public statements since their rescue. Amanda Berry, Gina De Jesus and Michelle Knight thanked the public for their continued love and support.

According to RAINN's VP of victim services, Jennifer Marsh, the women have taken one step closer to recovery and seem as though they are moving towards leading happier and more normal lives.

In an interview with ABC News Marsh said, "When I was watching the video, it seemed as though they were making the transition from victim to survivor."

One supporter of the Cleveland survivors, Alex Sheen, dedicated 10 days of his life to walk 240 miles across the state of Ohio to raise awareness and funds for those affected by sexual violence.

The funds Sheen raises will be split between RAINN and the Cleveland Courage Fund, a foundation established to directly benefit the kidnapping survivors.

Note: On July 26th, Ariel Castro pled guilty to 937 criminal counts of kidnapping, rape and aggravated murder. He will be formally sentenced this week and is facing life in prison plus 1,000 years.

To Budget or Not to Budget? FY 2014 Still a Question Mark.
supreme court

It's appropriations season on Capitol Hill, and that means House and Senate leaders (and, especially, their staffs) are working long hours to craft spending bills for the new fiscal year that starts October 1. However, it's not yet clear if those bills will ever become law.

As members of Congress prepare to break for their annual August recess, here's an update on the budget process to date and its potential impact on victims of sexual violence.

Read more here.

RAINN Goes Greek with Partner Alpha Sigma Phi
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Alpha Sigma Phi, one of the nation's largest fraternities, this month selected RAINN as a national philanthropic partner. The organization, founded in 1845 at Yale University, has 164 college chapters. Chapters will partner with RAINN to educate students about preventing sexual violence and to raise funds to support RAINN's Online Hotline and other programs. Chelsea Bowers just returned from ASP's annual convention, where she welcomed chapter leaders to the new partnership, telling them, "To learn more about incorporating RAINN into your chapter, email membership@rainn.org."

RAINN Day is Around the Corner
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Some chapters of new college partner Alpha Sigma Phi will be among the hundreds participating in this year's RAINN Day, an annual grassroots campaign to educate students about sexual assault prevention and recovery. Most of this year's events will take place on September 26.

Campus organizers each year plan events tailored to their campus size and style. RAINN provides organizers with a complete planning and promotion guide, and creates materials that volunteers can distribute to students. This year's events will include everything from a 5k run to film screenings. RAINN is still accepting applications for new campuses to participate.

Helping a Generation Become Better Journalists
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This month Katherine Hull, RAINN's VP of communications, and Liz Seccuro, a member of RAINN's Speakers Bureau and National Leadership Council, met with a class of graduate students from Georgetown University's School of Journalism to discuss the media's portrayal of sexual assault survivors and trial coverage. The class is led by Glamour magazine's DC editor, Linda Kramer Jenning.

For the second year in a row, Hull and Securro shared best practices for interviewing survivors of sexual assault and trauma. Hull provided the future journalists with tips on how to sensitively conduct an interview, encouraging interviewers to do their homework, set a tone of respect, and "ask the survivor if there is anything that he or should would rather not discuss on the record."

Seccuro praised the class, stating, "Georgetown's program is clearly top-notch and these students stop at nothing to strive for excellence. I am so impressed with their bravery to engage in the conversation of sexual assault in the media. It is my belief that not everyone wants to report on fluffy matters and I applaud the efforts of RAINN and Georgetown University in teaching journalists to be brave, to get a great story and to further the cause of human rights."


 RAINN in the News

abc news logo "I am happy they have found support and it seems as if they are moving along the path of recovery... One of the things that struck me was how sincere they were and how genuinely happy they appeared to be."

— RAINN's Jennifer Marsh on ABCNews.com

people magazine logo "I faced each day because I didn't want my rapist to win. I got better through therapy and loving support from family. There's nothing I can't overcome now. I survived."

— RAINN Speakers Bureau member Kayleigh Connell in People magazine

ap logo "The effectiveness of any changes spurred by the Penn State episode remains to be determined. We're not going to know until a little further down the road."

— RAINN's Scott Berkowitz in the Associated Press

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Senator patty murray
Sen. Patty Murray

"When our best and brightest don U.S. military uniform, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much to defend our country from dangerous threats. But they shouldn't have to face a threat from within their own ranks. I applaud RAINN's efforts to shed light on the tragic epidemic of military sexual assault and I share their commitment to providing support for victims both in our nation's armed forces and across the country. That is why I introduced the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act to give service men and women the protections they deserve in order to seek justice for these crimes. We owe them nothing less than to take meaningful action to rid our military of the scourge of sexual assault."
— Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Rep. John Carter
Rep. John Carter

"As a former State District Judge, taking measures to prevent all forms of domestic violence and sexual assault is something I am committed to. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has done outstanding work helping victims of sexual abuse and protecting those who are most vulnerable from future harm. I have seen firsthand the devastating effects domestic abuse has on victims and families. It is my belief that Congress has a duty to do what it can to prevent domestic and sexual violence and protect children and families from future harm. As the Representative of the 31st District of Texas, I am devoted to working with RAINN and my colleagues to support legislation that prevents domestic and sexual violence and protects victim's rights."
— Rep. John Carter (R-TX)

More News
RAINN Turns 19

RAINN turned 19 this week. Growing from a three-person startup in 1994 to the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN has helped nearly two million victims and now operates extensive national programs to educate the public about sexual assault prevention and recovery and improve the criminal justice response to sexual assault.

rainn em in logo

Over the past 19 years the generous support from thousands of donors and volunteers has helped survivors continue to receive the support they need. Most of the money RAINN raises comes from small, individual donations; in fact, the average donation last year was about $77.

We can't do it alone. Here's how your support can help:

By making a donation of $19 today you will help educate 950 people about sexual violence risks and recovery.

Join the conversation on Twitter by using #HappyBDayRAINN and be sure to Like" RAINN on Facebook.

Hotline Training Receives National Certification

As RAINN continues to raise the bar on care for survivors, its training for hotline staff and volunteers has received certification from the National Organization for Victim Assistance's National Advocate Credentialing Program (NACP).

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Melissa C. Bermudez, LICSW, who oversees RAINN's training program, welcomed the certification. "The NACP approval is important as it will help our staff continue to gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide high quality, compassionate and ethical services to survivors and loved ones affected by sexual violence," she said.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Julia Torres Barden
Julia Torres Barden
Julia Torres

"As a Hispanic woman and childhood rape victim, I am a member of RAINN's Speaker's Bureau so that I can bring greater awareness to all minority communities about the support available via our organization. Culturally speaking, it feels even more challenging to discuss this sensitive subject and so I'm worried that there are countless victims out there suffering in silence for many years like I did. I am on a mission to help victims heal and my affiliation with RAINN is a crucial resource in this endeavor."

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Rebecca Frele, Online Hotline Volunteer
Rebecca Frele

"Being a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline volunteer means having a cause to believe in and a way of actively supporting survivors. It means making a difference by donating my time and energy. As a volunteer I get to really make a difference by providing a safe space for survivors to talk and explore resources."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN.

Did You Know?
did you know

This month, for the fifth straight year, July is the busiest month for calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE). So far this year, RAINN's hotlines have helped more than 86,000 survivors, up 6% from last year. Learn more about the National Sexual Assault Hotline.

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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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