November 2012
DNA Evidence Collection Goes to Supreme Court
supreme court

The US Supreme Court this month announced that it will decide whether it is legally permissible for police to take DNA samples from suspects arrested for violent crimes. The case is an appeal of the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision in King v. Maryland, which invalidated the state’s DNA collection law. If upheld, the decision would overturn similar laws in 25 states.

“DNA is a crucial tool in rape investigations, many of which will be derailed unless the Supreme Court overturns the Maryland decision,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president. “Public safety is really at risk here. This is the most important rape case that has come before the Supreme Court in many years.”

In the Maryland case, DNA collected following a 2009 arrest of Alonzo King matched DNA from the crime scene of an unsolved 2003 rape. The DNA match led to King’s conviction for the 2003 home-invasion rape, and a sentence of life in prison without parole.  King challenged the conviction on Fourth Amendment grounds, claiming that the cheek swab to collect his DNA violated his expectation of privacy and constituted an illegal search.

The Maryland court ruled in favor of King’s challenge, in what a Washington Post editorial termed “a bizarre decision, to say the least.”

Read more about King v. Maryland and the importance of DNA evidence.

PSU Community Helps 13,047 Survivors helping hands

It's hard to believe that it's been one year since the Penn State community first came together to support survivors in the wake of the charges against Jerry Sandusky.  Not only did the news bring the tragedy of childhood sexual abuse to light, it united thousands of people who wanted to do something to help.

Over the past year supporters raised $548,000 to ensure that survivors would have access to help they deserve through RAINN's National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.  In fact, the funds raised enabled 13,047 additional survivors to get help on the Online Hotline.  The #ProudPSUforRAINN campaign, started by alumns Jerry and Jaime Needel, Larena Lettow and Bob Troia, brought together alumni, students, parents, fans and other supporters to ensure that something positive would come out the tragedy.  #ProudPSUforRAINN was a one-month campaign, but the momentum and support for RAINN and survivors continued all year with events held around the country to raise money and awareness about sexual violence.

Learn more about the continued need to help survivors. 

1 Year Later: Penn State News

1 year later

"RAINN now gets about 4,000 visits a month to its hotline from both men and women. And in the past year, supporters like Shipe have raised $548,000 to fund help for 13,047 survivors. 'The numbers are staggering,' said Scott Berkowitz, founder and president of RAINN. 'One of the interesting things about the Sandusky case it that its half life was much longer than a typical story.'" — ABC News

"Our Metro Washington DC Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association joined with other alumni chapters and groups around the country throwing a national RAINN fundraiser in January 2012, and we couldn't have been prouder of the way our community was able to organize…Our chapter will continue to support RAINN in its endeavors in the future and hope we can learn from our past to improve the future. We hope that you consider supporting them as well." — Chapter head David Fites in the Washington Times

“Nearly two months ago, I announced my intention to participate in the Philadelphia Marathon events not only to fulfill a personal goal, but to use the race as a vehicle to raise awareness for victims of sexual violence through contributions to RAINN. I've been joined by many others — runners, Penn Staters, family and friends of the Penn State community and those who believe in the fight to help victims reclaim their lives.”  — Ray Migneco in Black Shoes Diaries

Uncommon Goods, Amazon Let You
Shop and Support RAINN
Shop to give
Want a way to turn everyday shopping into everyday giving this holiday season? Here are two ways to shop and benefit RAINN — and they won't cost you an extra cent:

  1. Find the perfect one-of-a-kind gift at UncommonGoods! Select RAINN when you checkout and $1 from your purchase will help survivors of sexual violence.
  2. Shop stores like Amazon, Target and 700 more retailers through RAINN's Online Shopping Mall. With just one click, a portion of your sale will go to RAINN, at no extra cost to you.

Happy shopping!

RAINN in the News

Washington Post logo“We’ve come to understand, it’s not the innocent guy who has one beer too many and does something foolish.  These are criminals who plan out how they are going to select their victims, how they are going to do it.”
— RAINN's Scott Berkowitz in the Washington Post

WTOP logo"Avoid isolated areas where you may face the perpetrator one on one.  Even if you are in a familiar place, it's really important not to be lulled into a false sense of security." 
— RAINN's Katherine Hull on WTOP
CBS news logo“Jennifer Marsh, the vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) also told Crimesider that calls to their sexual abuse hotline go down on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, but go up in the weeks after.”
CBS’s Crimesider Blog, quoting RAINN's Jen Marsh
Lawmakers Making a Difference
Sen. Feinstein

Sen. DIanne Feinstein

“RAINN provides a critical lifeline and support system to victims of sexual violence, which happens all too often in California and in communities across the country.  I’m working hard to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, an essential bill to combat domestic violence and sexual assault, and to pass the SAFER Act to improve law enforcement’s ability to track sexual assault and prevent violent crimes.”
— Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Sen. McCain

Sen. John McCain

"RAINN’s remarkable work ensures that victims of sexual violence have access to the compassionate, professional support they deserve, while their educational initiatives focus on preventing these most heinous crimes. I am proud to stand with RAINN, whose work is a shining example of the good that can come when citizens come together to serve a cause greater than their own self-interest."
— Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

More News
Your Tax-Deductible Gift to RAINN

It's the season of giving, and this year you can give the gift of hope to survivors of sexual violence. RAINN's Online Hotline is helping nearly 1,000 survivors each week — up 47% from a year ago — and needs your help to ensure that every survivor gets the help he or she deserves. Your tax-deductible donation to RAINN before January 1 will make an incredible impact in the fight against sexual violence.

donate today

With 88¢ of every dollar you donate to RAINN going directly to helping survivors of sexual violence, you can be sure that your donation will provide much-needed help. Make your tax-deductible contribution today at

Travel Channel's Adam Richman to Host RAINN Party!
rainn adam richman

Spend the holidays with the Travel Channel's Adam Richman, pro-wrestling legend Mick Foley and RAINN.

On Wednesday, December 12, Richman will host a lively Evening of Celebration to benefit RAINN at DC's contemporary LongView Gallery. Enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, beautiful artwork, and great company — all while supporting a great cause.

Purchase tickets to be a part of the celebration!

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Malachi Stewart
Malachi Stewart


"Today, I am not just a survivor of abuse and rape but I have overcome its perils and my decision to be a part of RAINN Speaker's Bureau is a result of that decision. Being able to speak and share my story has given my inner child a voice to tell his story and has broken me free from the prison of abuse. The light of sharing my truth has destroyed the guilt and shame causing me to boldly share my experience so that others can heal."

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

Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Buczkowski, Online Hotline Volunteer
Lauren Boczkowski


“I am truly honored to be a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline volunteer.  I remember first hearing about RAINN in high school and thinking, what an amazing mission and organization. I was thrilled to learn of the Online Hotline and be able to participate in continuing the mission.”

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did You Know?
facebook gifts

Facebook's recently-launched gifting platform features a new option: charitable gifts. Now you can give a donation to RAINN as a gift to a friend or family member, directly from their timeline or the birthday reminders on their newsfeed! 

Join RAINN on Twitter

TwitterWant to stay updated about RAINN news and events and fun ways to get involved? Start following RAINN on Twitter today!

You can also spread the word by re-tweeting us and encouraging your friends to follow RAINN.

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