January 2013
New Safe Helpline App Offers Personalized
Self-Care for Survivors in Military

Survivors of sexual assault in the military can now get help on-the-go, through the DoD Safe Helpline application for iPhone and Android. The free app lets survivors create personalized self-care plans that can be accessed anytime.

“The DoD Safe Helpline app helps military survivors of sexual assault care for themselves on their terms and on-the-go,” said Jennifer Marsh, RAINN’s vice president for victim services. “You can track your moods and feelings, create a personal self-care plan, learn breathing and relaxation exercises, and find long-term support. And it’s entirely confidential — you are the only one who will have access to your personal recovery information. It is also accessible anytime, anywhere — you don’t need to be connected to the web to use it.”

safe helpline appsafe helpline app

The app’s other key features include customizable imagery and relaxation techniques; resources for Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and transitioning Service members; and detailed information about sexual assault effects, prevention and recovery.  Created by RAINN for the Department of Defense, the app also connects users directly to Safe Helpline’s telephone and online helplines for immediate support from trained sexual assault recovery professionals. 

The DoD Safe Helpline app is available for download from the iTunes and Google Play app stores. To learn more about DoD Safe Helpline, get help, or find resources for transitioning Service members, visit www.safehelpline.org

Katie's Law Signed By President Obama

This month President Obama signed into law the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2012, which encourages states to collect DNA from people arrested for a felony. Currently, only 25 states collect DNA from felony arrestees.


The new law is named after Katie Sepich of Carlsbad, Calif., who was brutally raped and murdered at the age of 22 while attending New Mexico State University. Leading the effort to pass the bill was Jayann Sepich, Katie's mother, who began pushing for the collection of DNA in 2003 when the family learned that DNA was not collected from people arrested for felonies in New Mexico. 

"Arrestee DNA is the greatest hope for families," Jayann Sepich said. "It's a tool that we have that we need to use. This whole thing began to get Katie's murder solved initially, but in our research, we found it was so much better than that. It's about saving so many lives so that other families don't have to go through what we went through."

This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Maryland v. King, which will decide the constitutionality of  state laws that mandate collecting DNA from arrestees. RAINN has joined DNA Saves, an organization founded by Sepich, in an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold such laws.

News Stories Remind Survivors
It's Never Too Late to Get Help

Horrific stories of gang rape across the globe and in the U.S. dominated the news in January.  High-profile news stories about sexual violence can be difficult for survivors to hear. “I was gang-raped at age 13 and now I am 41, and I still sometimes have flashbacks, especially when such graphic recounts of sexual violence are in the news, as they have been lately,” said Amy, a member of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau.  RAINN’s Online Hotline offers a safe place for survivors of these crimes to anonymously chat online about what happened without saying the words out loud. It's never too late to get help: online.rainn.org

RAINN in the News
Wall Street Journal logo "The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN, a U.S. nonprofit organization, says only 46% of U.S. rape cases get reported
to the police." — The Wall Street Journal

"Victims are denied justice while the perpetrators remain free to rape again… This is a law-and-order measure requiring no ideological fight over additional financing."
—NY Times editorial endorsing
the SAFER Act

Anderson Cooper 360 loho

"My first reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. We’re now prosecuting rape based on 140-year-old laws that long ago stopped making sense?’”  — RAINN’s Scott Berkowitz on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360

Senate Takes Up Bipartisan
Violence Against Women Act

 “The first legislation I plan to move in the new Congress is the Violence Against Women Act,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) vowed this month. The landmark VAWA, which has helped reduce sexual and domestic violence by more than half, expired last year.
Sens. Crapo and Leahy

Sens. Crapo and Leahy

“Last year, the Senate passed my bipartisan bill, but House leaders refused to agree to protect some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence and rape,” Leahy told Georgetown University law students, according to MSNBC. The House passed a version of VAWA last year that stripped out some of the Senate bill’s protections for LGBT and Native American victims.

Leahy and co-sponsor Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) made one significant change to VAWA this year: they added the SAFER Act, which will help eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases.

The SAFER Act, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) passed the Senate just after Christmas. Days later, the House passed an amended version of SAFER (sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe [R-TX] and Carolyn Maloney [D-NY]). But the vote came too late to reconcile its bill with the Senate before the 112th Congress adjourned.

Because of Congressional rules, the bill had to be reintroduced, and the process started all over, when the new Congress was sworn in this month. The sponsors last week re-introduced SAFER, which has the support of Chairman Leahy and Sen. Chuck Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

How you can get involved:

  1. Call your senators and ask them to co-sponsor S. 47 (the Violence Against Women Act) and S. 80 (the SAFER Act.
  2. Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 11 (the Violence Against Women Act) and H.R. 354  (the SAFER Act).
More News
Supporters Help
4,238 Survivors

Thanks to the generosity of thousands of supporters this holiday season, 4,238 survivors of sexual violence will be able to get the help they need through the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline. Donations in December went twice as far to help, thanks to a group of donors who agreed to match gifts dollar-for-dollar. 

2013 thank you

The Online Hotline helped a record 40,395 survivors last year, up 27% from the prior year.  Each time RAINN is able to increase staffing of the Online Hotline, usage increases, according to Jennifer Marsh, RAINN’s vice president for victim services. “This is a clear sign that the hotline is still not meeting the entire demand from survivors who would like help,” says Marsh. This month, the Online Hotline will help about 4,000 survivors, a new record — and yet another sign that the demand is growing quickly.

The RAINN Tote Bag
tote bag

Are you still searching for that perfect tote bag? Whether you’re running to the grocery store or heading to the beach, the new “Hope. Courage. Strength.” canvas tote is the perfect carry-all bag. With all proceeds going to help survivors of sexual violence, this $25 tote is an affordable and fashionable way to make a difference.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Felicia Smith
Felicia Smith

"I have learned that through my devastation and misery that there is truly 'life after death.' Being a part of RAINN's Speakers Bureau means that I get to pour life, hope and promise into those hurting. My story becomes a ministry and not a tragedy. I have found that this is what I'm here on earth to do, and that is to help the suffering with the aftermath of rape. I used to think that my sexual assault completely destroyed me; now I can say that it has made me so much more stronger than I could have ever conceived."

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

Hotline Spotlight: Marci Matthews, Online Hotline Volunteer
Marci Matthews

"Sometimes I feel there are not enough words to describe how much it means to be a part of this: I am continually awed, honored, humbled, and inspired. Each person who comes to RAINN's Online Hotline shows so much courage and often reaches even further into themselves as we help them. They leave with hope to be more brave and courageous as they heal. It is definitely the most important and rewarding work I have ever done."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

 Get Help Now

Hotline Ad

 Donate Now


 DoD Safe Helpline

shop for rainn
Copyright 2012 RAINN | 1.800.656.HOPE | rainn.org