September 2012

Momentum Builds for Bipartisan SAFER Act

capitol dome

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the SAFER Act (S. 3250), critical legislation that addresses the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases. The next step is a vote by the full Senate, which should take place late this year. The bill was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

There are two distinct rape kit backlogs in the United States: the well-known backlog of untested kits that have already been submitted to a laboratory for testing; and the hidden backlog of kits in law enforcement storage that have not been submitted for testing. This second backlog is of particular concern because, according to the National Institute of Justice: "Federal programs to reduce backlogs in crime laboratories are not designed to address untested evidence stored in law enforcement agencies."

While previous legislation (the Debbie Smith Act) has helped to address the lab backlogs, the SAFER Act is the first to directly address the hidden backlog as well. It reallocates existing spending, so will not add to the federal deficit. More than 100 organizations joined RAINN in a letter to senators in support of SAFER.

Are your senators sponsors of SAFER? If so, please take a moment to say thanks. If not, find out what you can do to help.

College Volunteers Organize RAINN Day Events
rainn day logo

Hundreds of colleges are participating in today's RAINN Day 2012, a grassroots program through which student volunteers educate their peers about preventing and recovering from sexual violence.

The Department of Justice reports that college-aged students are four times likelier to be assaulted than any other age group. Whether led by individuals or by groups partnering with police departments, university health services and other like-minded organizations, each and every RAINN Day effort makes a difference in the fight against sexual violence on campus.

This year's events include walk-a-thons, umbrella painting contests, information tables and more! Participants can enter the RAINN Day 2012 Multimedia Contest; the winner will be featured on Cosmopolitan magazine's website and profiled in the next RAINNews! Learn more about RAINN Day 2012.

Celebrate Hope with RAINN & gorjana

Actress KaDee Strickland from ABC's Private Practice collaborated with gorjana to create an exclusive piece of jewelry supporting RAINN! The beautiful, delicate gorjana RAINN Hope Necklace features a ⅜" raindrop charm with "hope" inscribed on the front. The necklace is 18" long and 18k gold plated.

RAINN gorjana

In honor of the RAINN Day college education campaign, through September 30th 100% of the profits will benefit RAINN! Purchase your necklace this week and celebrate hope.

"Talk To Me" During National Suicide Prevention Month
trevor project

With three simple words – talk to me – you can let a friend know that you care about them and are willing to listen without judgment. During National Suicide Prevention Month in September, the Trevor Project is encouraging people of all ages to become a part of the solution to preventing youth suicide through its new campaign, Talk To Me.

Because sexual assault survivors are more likely than others to become depressed, and are four times more likely to contemplate suicide, RAINN has joined as a partner in the campaign.

Supporters can get involved by taking the "Talk To Me" pledge and vowing to be a person that anyone can talk to when they need support. They can also write a message to a friend on a sticky note and leave it in a creative place.

If you are thinking about suicide, please call the Trevor Lifeline at 866.488.7386

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, help is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800.656.HOPE and at

Memphis Officer Forms Bond with Fellow Survivor
survivors bond

After putting a 15-year-old's abuser behind bars, Memphis police officer, survivor and RAINN Speakers Bureau Member Kassandra Smith is determined to help other survivors. Today, she and the teen share a special bond, "I want to make sure they get everything they need to make the process a little easier." Kassandra knows the teen's pain and, 25 years later, it still brings her to tears. Instead of hiding her dark secret she opened up about it and is showing survivors of sexual violence that they, too, can overcome.

Watch a touching story about the survivors' bond between Officer Smith and Oreona Brown on Memphis' WREG.


 RAINN in the News

pbs news hour logo "People are uncomfortable that such a vulnerable population would get hurt. We think: that could be my parent. Or my grandparent."
— RAINN's Jennifer Marsh in The Daily Beast.

ask amy logo "She should contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network to communicate with an online or phone counselor about this sexual assault. Their website is and hotline is 800-656-HOPE (4673)." — Ask Amy

in style logo "KaDee Strickland, who stars as Dr. Charlotte King on Private Practice (which premieres tonight at 10 p.m. EST on ABC), was so moved by her character's sexual assault storyline in season 2 that she took on the cause as her own. In collaboration with jewelry brand gorjana, the actress designed a necklace for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network—and this week only, 100% of the profits from its sale will go toward programs for RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country." — InStyle, What's Right Now!

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Sen. Cornyn
Sen. John Cornyn

"I want to express my appreciation to my co-sponsors on this bipartisan legislation. It shows we can work together to solve identifiable problems in our criminal justice system. The 400,000 estimated backlog on untested rape kits is a national scandal. This legislation will help get an accurate inventory of the problem, bring greater transparency and hopefully more testing where testing is appropriate to both get perpetrators of the street – many whom are serial offenders – as well as exonerate those who are innocent. I'd like to finally thank advocates Scott Berkowitz (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and Annette Burrhus-Clay (the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault) for their tireless work on this issue. Many other have worked on this issue as well. "
— Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to the Senate Judiciary Committee

More News
Combined Federal Campaign Kicks Off

Support RAINN this year through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the world's largest workplace charity campaign. The CFC provides federal employees, including members of the military, with the opportunity to support their favorite charity year-round through payroll deductions in manageable, monthly increments.

combined federal campaign

If you're a federal employee, please consider designating RAINN (#10488) in this year's campaign. If you'd like to help promote RAINN to your colleagues, please contact

Eat with Travel Channel's Adam Richman
rainn adam richman

Ready to eat with a pro and show your support for RAINN? Join Adam Richman, host of the Travel Channel's America's Best Sandwich, on December 12 in Washington, DC, for a night of fun and food.
Tickets are on sale now.

Join Supermodels and RAINN in NYC!
project model tee logo

Edythe Hughes and other top supermodels have launched Project Model Tee to provide a platform for fashion models to benefit charitable causes through creative expression. The group will kick off its support with a special event on October 25 at New York City's Hudson Terrace. Enjoy drinks, a fashionable crowd, a silent auction and original artwork by inspired models. All proceeds will benefit RAINN and support survivors of sexual violence.

If you would like to attend, please email

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Kassandra Smith
kassandra smith

The RAINN Speakers Bureau encouraged me to share my story concerning sexual abuse. At the age of sixteen, I was a victim of a violent sexual assault that changed my life. Several years later, I received counseling from the Shelby County Sexual Assault Resource Center in Tennessee, a RAINN-partner local crisis center. The counseling I received allowed me to speak out and gave me my life back. Since the attack, I have dedicated my life to helping other sexual assault victims. Now, twenty-five years later, I am working as a law enforcement officer with a master's degree in business administration. RAINN's Speakers Bureau has given me a voice to speak out against sexual violence and the courage to share my story with others.

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

Hotline Spotlight: Caitlin T., Online Hotline Volunteer
Caitlin T.
Caitlin T.

"Volunteering for RAINN's Online Hotline helps me remember that everyone I interact with has problems of one sort or another that I don't necessarily know about, and so my compassion for people in everyday life has grown a lot. I really appreciate being able to make a connection with a person who's feeling really bad and help make things seem not quite so overwhelming."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did You Know?
did you know

College-aged students are four times likelier to be assaulted than any other age group. Eighty percent of victims of sexual violence are under the age of 30.

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