June 2012

What the Sandusky Verdict Means for Survivors

Sandusky Trial Impact

Last week, in a case that shocked the nation and brought great awareness to the sexual abuse of children, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 charges of sexually abusing children. During the trial, usage of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline rose by 33%; this followed a 50% increase when the scandal first broke last November.

RAINN’s hotline director, Jennifer Marsh, said, “We’re seeing an outpouring of people reaching out for help — women and men, boys and girls — many of whom have been encouraged to get help for the first time as a result of this tragedy.”

Leading up to and during the trial, RAINN’s staff worked closely with national media to educate them about child sexual abuse and ensure that media coverage accurately portrayed the nature of the crime and its effect on victims.

Praising the jury’s verdict and the courage of the survivors who came forward to report Sandusky’s crimes, RAINN’s president and founder Scott Berkowitz told Reuters: “Today is a landmark day for survivors of sexual violence across the nation. This verdict shows the country that when allegations of such abuse are brought to light, they will be taken seriously and that a just outcome is possible. If something positive can come out of this, it is that the strength of the survivors who testified has already encouraged thousands of survivors nationwide to take the first steps towards recovery through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org), creating record demand for the hotline's services. We are hopeful that this case will continue to motivate other survivors to come forward and will encourage more prosecutors to vigorously pursue cases of sexual violence."

Lavinia's Story: Why the SAFER Act is so Important
safer act

Critical evidence from the attack on Lavinia B. Masters, a member of RAINN’s speakers bureau, sat on a shelf for over two decades before it was tested. In the meantime, the rapist had struck again, attacking several more women.

When she was 13 years old, Lavinia was raped at knifepoint by a home intruder while her siblings were asleep in her room and her parents were asleep upstairs. The Masters family immediately notified the police and went to a hospital in Dallas, Texas, where a forensic medical exam was performed on Lavinia and DNA evidence was collected in a rape kit.

More than two decades later, still with no word about her attacker or an update on the status of her rape kit, Lavinia saw a TV commercial noting that the Dallas Police Department was starting an initiative to clear out backlogged rape kits. She immediately called in.

Read more.

RAINN and 1in6 Join Forces to
Help Adult Male Survivors
1 in 6 logo

The recent news coverage of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial has brought to light the experience of male survivors of childhood sexual assault. Since August of 2009, there has been one more way for men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood to get real-time assistance, information and referrals. RAINN created a special version of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline for 1in6, a nonprofit organization that provides information and resources to adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The 24/7 SupportLine for men, and their family and friends, is accessible through the 1in6 website, and is staffed and operated by RAINN.

Read more.

FBI: Reports of Forcible Rape Decline

The FBI has released its preliminary crime report for 2011, which shows a 4% decline in the number of forcible rapes reported to police compared with the prior year. The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) data counts only attacks that are reported to police. In other studies, the Justice Department estimates that about 54% of sex crimes are never reported to law enforcement.

Because the FBI’s report covers only reported rapes, there is no way to know whether the decline reflects a decrease in the total number of sexual assaults, or rather a decrease in the percentage of assaults that are reported to police.

The nation’s other main source of crime data, the Justice Department’s annual National Crime Victimization Survey, reports that the total number of sexual assaults has declined by more than half since 1993, while the percentage of such attacks that are reported to police has risen by half in that time.

Earlier this year, the FBI announced that it will expand its definition of rape to include rapes against men and crimes in which physical force is not used, such as some rapes against children. The new definition will not be in place until at least 2013, however; for now, the FBI figures count only forcible rapes against women.

In creating UCR, the FBI compiles crime data from local law enforcement agencies across the country to determine national crime levels and trends.


 RAINN in the News

bloomberg news "Today is a landmark day for survivors of sexual violence across the nation. This [Sandusky] verdict shows the country that when allegations of such abuse are brought to light, they will be taken seriously and that a just outcome is possible." —RAINN’s Scott Berkowitz in Bloomberg News

Philadelphia Inquirer logo “When they testify, some victims experience the same fear, shame and embarrassment that they felt during the assault. But testifying can be empowering for the victim. There may be a great sense of relief.” — RAINN’s Jennifer Marsh in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia Inquirer logo “Media coverage of the Sandusky case, by itself, won't abolish pressures on victims not to report abuses, but it's a big moment for our culture, telling victims that their parents, teachers, and communities will listen to them, take them seriously, and support them." — RAINN's Scott Berkowitz in the Philadelphia Inquirer

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Sen. Bailey Hutchison
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

“Since the founding of RAINN in 1994, the organization has made strong progress in the battle against sexual assault. In Texas, and across the country, RAINN’s hotline and local rape crisis center [partners] are important resources for those who have been victimized. RAINN has also been an invaluable advocate on behalf of these issues in Congress. Its commitment to prevention and to helping victims survive the trauma of sexual assault provides a model for all those who work to reduce and ultimately eliminate such violence.”
— Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

Sen. Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken

"Victims of sexual violence shouldn't have their problems compounded by unnecessary expenses and other stresses. They shouldn't have to pay for forensic medical exams or worry about becoming homeless. I’m pleased to have worked with RAINN on efforts to reduce the backlog of untested rape kits. And, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I've worked to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which will ensure that women get the support and care they need during devastating times. I'm looking forward to the Senate version of the VAWA bill becoming law."
— Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

More News
Fundraising for RAINN Made Easy

A RAINNmaker combines his or her passion with action to raise funds & awareness for survivors of sexual violence. With the launch of the new RAINNmaker website, now it is easier than ever to join the RAINNmaker community.


The new RAINNmaker site has detailed fundraising guides and features that will allow you to create an individualized page to share with others. You can also connect with other RAINNmakers in your area.

Making an impact is now easier than ever:
1. Create a RAINNmaker page
2. Start your campaign
3. Share with everyone you know!

Have questions? We have a dedicated RAINNmaker coach who is waiting to show you the ropes. When your campaign is over, your coach will let you and your donors know just how much of an impact you’ve made for survivors of sexual violence. Sign up and start creating your personal page today!

Donate Your Birthday to RAINN


Looking for a way to make your next birthday extra special? Consider giving up gifts to make a real difference in the lives of sexual assault survivors.

Sign up to donate your birthday or other special occasion on our new RAINNmaker website. You’ll be able to create a personalized page to broadcast your mission to make a difference. You can even collect donations and track your progress directly from your page.

Just $10 helps one person get the help they need through RAINN’s hotlines. In lieu of birthday presents this year, ask your friends and family to donate $10 – or better yet, your age in dollars.

Pledge your birthday now!

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Megan Molargik
Megan Molargik

"Being part of the speakers bureau means I get to help inspire and encourage people who are dealing with something difficult. It’s wonderful to experience the switch click as they realize that if I can make it, so can they."

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

Online Hotline Spotlight: Katelyn Birs, Hotline Associate
Katelyn Birs

"My experience with RAINN has been very rewarding. I love how the Online Hotline is able to reach and empower individuals who may otherwise not reach out. I believe the work RAINN does is incredibly important and I'm really excited to start my new assignment supporting volunteers during the online training process."

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 & treatment here.

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