August 2012

RAINN Responds: "Rep. Akin's Claim is Ridiculous"

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Rep. Todd Akin

As all of American knows by now, Rep. Todd Akin last week told a St. Louis TV station that women do not become pregnant as a result of rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," he said.

RAINN quickly responded, saying in a statement to media, "Simply put, Rep. Akin's claim is ridiculous. While there was such a time when it was commonly believed that pregnancy couldn't result from rape, that time was hundreds of years ago. Now we know better. Each year, thousands of women become pregnant as the result of rape, and many more survivors are faced with PTSD, depression and other long-term results of the crime. Supporting survivors — and recognizing the impact of the crime on them — is the very least we should expect from our political leaders."

The media reaction was overwhelming, while the political and public reactions were immediate and nearly unanimous. Everyone from Gov. Mitt Romney to President Obama condemned the remarks, and top Republicans such as Sen. John Cornyn and Romney urged Akin to quit the race for the Missouri Senate seat.

RAINN worked with dozens of media outlets to ensure that the public got accurate information and statistics, and the organization's spokespeople were widely quoted by NBC, CNN, The New York Times, LA Times and many others.

USA Network Partners with RAINN to Fight Violence
usa network logo

Characters Unite, USA Network's public affairs campaign, has partnered with RAINN to connect viewers with the help they deserve through a new public service campaign for the National Sexual Assault Hotline. The campaign features public service announcements by actors Callie Thorne and Mehcad Brooke from the #1 cable network's hit show, Necessary Roughness.

The campaign aims to help survivors of sexual violence take the first steps towards recovery with RAINN. Thorne and Brooke encourage viewers to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline via phone (800-656-HOPE) or online chat (, saying "If this has happened to you or someone you love, it's not too late to get help." Since 1994, more than 1.7 million people have been helped through the hotlines.

Watch Callie & Mehcad's new RAINN PSAs.

Read more about the campaign.

RAINN is a proud partner of USA Network's Characters Unite program to combat hate and discrimination. In addition to the new PSA campaign, USA Network is supporting survivors by honoring Julie Weil, a member of RAINN's speakers bureau. Weil received an honorable mention from USA Network's Characters Unite Awards. This awards program recognizes individuals who have made significant and lasting differences in their communities around the country. Weil works tirelessly to raise awareness about sexual violence and help survivors get the justice they deserve. She has been instrumental in recruiting members of Congress from both parties to cosponsor the SAFER Act. The Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act is a bill that will create a national registry of untested DNA evidence from rape kits. Weil hopes that the bill will lead to swifter justice for more survivors. In her words: "I believe that to increase the reporting and investigating of rape cases — and therefore get more rapists off our streets — we must start with caring for the victims."

A 12-Year-Old Raises More Than $10,000
rainn birthday

When 12-year-old Kelsey Hirsch learned about the allegations of sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky, she wanted to take immediate action: "My first response was to ask how can I help," she says.

With the support of her parents, who are both Penn State graduates, Kelsey decided to dedicate the community service component of her Bat Mitzvah prep to help survivors of sexual abuse. She created Bands4RAINN, blue wristbands that say "Hope. Courage. Strength," to promote sexual abuse awareness.

Kelsey has already sold thousands of wristbands for $3 each, with all proceeds to RAINN. She quickly passed her goal of $1,000, and has already raised more than $11,000.

Read more about Kelsey and Bands4RAINN.

Back to School: Putting Safety First
rainn birthday

For the millions of students heading back to school this fall, violence on campus is a harsh reality. In fact, college-aged students are at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted — often by someone they know. Being aware of these risks, looking out for friends and using a bit of common sense are often the first steps in staying safe.

"While heading back to school is an exciting time for students, it can foster a false sense of security," said Katherine Hull, spokesperson for RAINN. "The risk doesn't just come from strangers lurking in the bushes, but from their peers on campus. These simple tips can help students stay safe while enjoying college life."

"Go with your gut" and "Make people earn your trust" are just some of the tips from RAINN. See all of RAINN's back to school safety tips.

RAINN Day is Around the Corner —
Organize Your Campus!
Dixie State College RAINN Day Event 2011
Dixie State College
RAINN Day Event 2011

Raise awareness for sexual violence by hosting a RAINN Day event on your campus. RAINN Day is an annual grassroots campaign through which college students educate their peers about preventing and recovering from sexual violence. Sign-up today to create an event that is as unique as you are. RAINN Day organizers will receive the complete event planning and promotion guide and have a chance to be profiled by RAINN and featured on Cosmopolitan magazine's website!


 RAINN in the News

pbs news hour logo Scott Berkowitz, president of Rape Abuse and Incest National Network,, said that stranger rape is more typically reported but that most rape is committed by someone who knows the victim. Still, he and others put considerable effort into persuading the F.B.I. to broaden its definition to include all forms of penetration, as well as cases involving male victims, and to drop the word "forcible." —NY Times

BET logo RAINN board member, National Sexual Assault Online Hotline volunteer, professional wrestler, and bestselling author, Mick Foley is featured in My Generation for his work with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network(RAINN). Watch the segment and see how Foley is working to help survivors of sexual assault.

washington post logo "I really hope that the bands become a bigger national discussion, so that everybody focuses on helping children to never be hurt. Think how great it would be if everyone was wearing a Bands4RAINN and kids could see that as a safe haven." — Supporter Kelsey Hirsch discussing her fundraising efforts with the Washington Post.

usa today logo "The risk doesn't just come from strangers lurking in the bushes, but from their peers on campus. These simple tips can help students stay safe while enjoying college life."
— Katherine Hull discusses back-to-school safety in USA Today.

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Rep. Robert Aderholt
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

"Preventing sexual assault is an important cause that every American should learn more about and find ways to support. As the largest anti-sexual assault organization in America, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is an outstanding organization that helps millions of helpless victims through counseling for women and influencing policy and, as a member of Congress and an American, I am proud to support this compassionate program."
— Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)

Rep. Susan Davis
Rep. Susan Davis

"Groups such a RAINN lead the dialogue and direction toward policy change to stop sexual violence. I am proud to stand with them. As the lead Democrat on the House Military Personnel Subcommittee, I have worked with my colleagues to put an end to sexual assaults in our military ranks. We have begun to put a system in place that ensures that the victims of a sexual assault receive all the support they need, establishes a sense of justice, and changes the climate toward this problem."
— Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA)

More News
Happy Birthday,
Tori Amos
happy birthday

Many RAINN supporters first learned about the organization thanks to musician Tori Amos, who was RAINN's first spokesperson. This month, Amos fans can honor her and help her celebrate her 49th birthday by making a donation to RAINN. Make your gift today!

Help End the
DNA Backlog
dna backlog

With the Senate Judiciary Committee poised to consider the SAFER Act next month, a call to your senator could help bring justice to survivors nationwide. The bill will bring transparency and efficiency to the DNA testing process and help eliminate the hidden backlog of up to 400,000 untested rape evidence kits.

Contact your senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 3250, the SAFER Act.

The New RAINN Tote

Is your favorite tote bag worn out from overuse? If so, the new RAINN tote is the perfect accessory for a trip to the beach or to the grocery store.


Proclaim your support for RAINN with the two-tone canvas tote that says "Hope. Courage. Strength." At only $25, with all proceeds going to help survivors of sexual violence, this bag is an affordable way to make a difference. Purchase yours at the RAINN store.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Paul McComas
Paul McComas

"I'm almost 'unspeakably' honored to be on the Speakers Bureau of the nation's top organization in support of a cause for which 'speech' is imperative. A sexual assailant's key allies are silence and (unmerited) shame; every time my fellow bureau members and I step forward and 'speak up' — in my case on behalf of my long-ago first girlfriend, who cannot speak for herself, having taken her life six months after her rape — we bring the perpetrators of rape, abuse, and incest closer to justice, and we help to reduce the occurrence of future sexual-violence crimes. Whether you're a bureau member, a rape/abuse/incest survivor, or the loved one of a survivor: Raise your voice!"

Check out McComas' recent radio interviews with NPR and Milwaukee Public Radio.

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

Hotline Spotlight: Andrea Castelhano, Online Hotline Staffer
Andrea Castelhano

"I was attracted to the Online Hotline because it provides survivors a safe way to 'talk' about their experiences. Personally, the fact that a resource like the hotline is available in an online format means so much to me because I know first hand how difficult it can be to find the words to talk about sexual assault. I think that this format helps those individuals who are not yet ready or sure how to talk about what they have experienced and from my experience on the hotline, I have found that many visitors use the resource as a step towards receiving direct care."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did You Know?
did you know

July was a record-breaking month for RAINN. The hotlines RAINN operates (National Sexual Assault Hotline, Online Hotline and DoD Safe Helpline) helped a combined total of 14,134 people — more than any month in RAINN's history.

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