July 2012

PSU Aftermath: NCAA Sanctions to Help Survivors

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Mark Emmert (President of the NCAA) and Ed Ray (Chairman of the NCAA's Executive Committee)

Just days after a report by Louis Freeh harshly criticized Penn State's leadership for its attempts to cover up reports of Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys, the NCAA announced a record $60 million fine against the university.

Freeh's investigation found a "total disregard for the safety and welfare" of children and efforts by PSU president Graham Spanier and coach Joe Paterno to cover up the story to protect the school's reputation.

In a statement following the release of the findings, RAINN's president & founder, Scott Berkowitz, said, "There are only two appropriate responses to a child being sexually assaulted: first, you need to immediately notify law enforcement, and second, you need to ensure that the child gets the help he or she needs to recover from the attack."

Noting the NCAA fine, which must be used for programs to prevent sexual abuse and help victims, Berkowitz told the Associated Press, "I'm glad that the NCAA didn't focus just on punishment, but rather on helping survivors and preventing future attacks. It is very significant that the NCAA paid attention to the impact this case has had on survivors across the country. "

The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline was running at full capacity before the Sandusky scandal broke last fall. Since then, usage is up 47%, proving there is still an overwhelming demand for survivors who need help.

Read more about the Freeh Report's findings and RAINN's response.

Read RAINN's statement on the NCAA Sanctions.

Not-So-Funny Man
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Comedian Daniel Tosh

Comedian Daniel Tosh is no stranger to inappropriateness, but this month he hit a new low when he made a female audience member the subject of a harsh rape "joke." At a performance in Los Angeles, Tosh reportedly responded to a comment by a female audience member by saying, "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by, like five guys right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?"

In an interview with E!, RAINN spokesperson Katherine Hull said, "When will this 'funny man' realize that rape jokes aren't funny? By suggesting that an audience member deserved to be gang raped, Tosh took his shtick to a new low. Applause is due to the woman who had the guts to vocalize what many in room were thinking."

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18 Years: Your Impact
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RAINN this month turned 18-years old. In its infancy in 1994, the organization was a three-person startup. Today, it has become the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates extensive national programs to educate the public about sexual assault prevention and recovery; help victims recover from their attack; and improve the criminal justice response to rape.

Since RAINN's last birthday, the number of survivors receiving live support from the Online Hotline has grown 47%. Overall, the National Sexual Assault Hotline and Online Hotline have helped more than 1.7 million people.

One constant over the years has been the generous support from thousands of donors and volunteers. Most of the money RAINN raises comes from small, individual donors; in fact, the average donation last year was about $107.

Here's how your support can help:

You can ensure that survivors continue to receive the support they need and deserve by making a donation today. and joining the conversation on Twitter: #HappyBDayRAINN.


 RAINN in the News

pbs news hour logo "I think that one of the best things that came out of this case was seeing the public's almost-universal revulsion, and how responsibly the media handled it. I think that there's a much better understanding now than there was a year ago of how serious a crime this is." —RAINN's president Scott Berkowitz on PBS News Hour.

BET logo "According to RAINN, 15 percent of sexual assault and rape cases occur among children under the age of 12, with 93 percent of juvenile sexual assault perpetuated by someone they know. Of those assaults, 34.2 percent of attackers were family members, 58.7 percent were acquaintances and only 7 percent were complete strangers." —BET on the decline of childhood sexual abuse rates.

sports illustrated logo "Every time we add staff to our online hotline, the usage of the hotline jumps significantly. That tells us we are not even close to meeting all the demand. If we were able to double staffing, that would mean we are providing counseling to an extra 40,000 people a year.'' —Berkowitz in Sports Illustrated.

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Rep. Grijalva
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)

"Rape and violence against women aren't just women's issues. I've seen the damage they can do to families and communities, especially when attacks are ignored or swept under the rug. That's why I support the work RAINN has been doing for so many years, not just to help victims of abuse but to make sure we don't stop working to improve our laws and keep the public safe. Congress should be working harder on passing bills like the SAFER Act – which I cosponsor – to eliminate the DNA evidence backlog and help law enforcement bring offenders to justice.

"Beyond writing good laws that protect women, men and children from rape, abuse and incest, we should all work toward building the kind of country that never accepts them or looks the other way. It's going to take more work and more than just legislation, but it's a cause I believe in and it's work I believe is always worth doing."
— Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Congressman Roscoe Bartlett

"Sexual assault inflicts physical as well as psychological wounds on its victims. Through its rape crisis centers, including Maryland affiliates in Oakland, Cumberland, Hagerstown, Westminster, Bel Air and Frederick, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) provides victims of sexual assault a safe place to find help and support for their own healing as well as assistance to our law enforcement agencies to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable for their crimes. As a member of Congress and a proud original co-sponsor of the bipartisan SAFER Act, I applaud RAINN for its comprehensive contributions to reducing sexual assault in our communities."
— Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)

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Make a Difference Year-Round!

When you become a monthly donor, you pledge your active and enduring commitment to the fight against sexual violence. By spreading your support throughout the calendar year, you can have a great impact on RAINN's planning and future programs while contributing in manageable increments.

For just $1 a day, you will enable 36 survivors this year to get the support they need and deserve. Affirm your commitment today at whatever level you can afford, and start making an impact — each and every day.

New Training on Neurobiology of Trauma

To help Online Hotline staff and volunteers remain in the forefront of providing trauma-informed care, RAINN has developed a new training module on the neurobiology of trauma in conjunction with Dr. Jim Hopper and the Department of Defense. Dr. Hopper, a researcher, clinician, consultant, and clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School, worked with Melissa Bermudez, RAINN's training manager, to develop the course.

The neurobiology of trauma training draws on Hopper's research and clinical experience and teaches hotline workers how the brain is affected during and after a sexual assault and how to appropriately support survivors who are experiencing these effects.

"This training is pivotal in enhancing our ability to provide hope and support through research-based information and resources to help survivors heal and recover from their assault," said Bermudez.

This training will become a mandatory part of Online Hotline and DoD Safe Helpline training, and RAINN will also provide the course at no charge to its 1,100 local rape treatment program affiliates and other professionals in the field.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Megan Molargik
Eliina Belenkiy

"Being a RAINN speakers bureau member has been instrumental for me to regain my voice that was once lost. I feel empowered educating and advocating for others and if sharing my story can help even one person, it means the world to me."

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Stephanie Klapper, Online Hotline Volunteer
Stephanie Klapper

"I think we've all had a time when we didn't know where to turn, or who to trust. Being a RAINN volunteer means being able to be there for somebody in need. The best part is knowing that I have made a difference in someone's life. That thought always stays with me."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did You Know?
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Since last November, when news of the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke, the number of people getting help from the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline has increased 47%.

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Follow @RAINN01 on Twitter for the latest RAINN news, information about current issues, and ways to get involved in the fight against sexual violence.
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