On RAINN’s Spanish Hotline, Your Voice is Your Power

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Hispanic Heritage Month starts September 15 and is an opportunity to celebrate the many different communities and experiences that make up more than 60.6 million Hispanic and Latinx people in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For those whose primary language is Spanish, finding resources after experiencing sexual violence can be difficult, especially for those who are unfamiliar with U.S. laws, uncomfortable seeking help in English, undocumented, or fear experiencing discrimination, whether for their race, sexuality, or gender identity, or another reason.

That’s why RAINN offers the National Sexual Assault Hotline in Spanish by phone at 800.656.4673 and online at rainn.org/es. It’s free, confidential, anonymous, and available 24/7. The hotline is a safe resource for anyone who needs help for themselves or a loved ones after sexual violence.

Who answers the calls and chats on the hotline?

“The Spanish hotline is staffed by fluent Spanish speakers, many of whom grew up speaking Spanish in their home either in the U.S. or in a Latin American country.,” says Jessica Leslie, National Sexual Assault Hotline program director. “Language is an expression of culture and plays a critical role in helping us process our emotions and lived experiences. As a Spanish speaker myself, I know firsthand how important it is to be able to talk about difficult issues in the language that you feel allows you to best express what you are going through and feeling.”

Many staff members on the Spanish hotline came to RAINN because they saw a lack of services in their communities and wanted to do something to help.

“There is such incredible passion here,” says Leslie. “The staff genuinely care and so many of the stories they hear resonate with them because they have seen loved ones, family members, friends, and community members go through similar things, whether sexual assault, domestic violence, or other abuse.”

Who can get help from the hotline?

The hotline is free for anyone who needs it, and that includes survivors of sexual violence and abuse and their loved ones who want to learn how to support them.

“A lot of people who come to the hotline are not sure how to interpret their experiences,” says Celia Gamboa, National Sexual Assault Hotline Senior shift manager. “We’re here to help visitors to the hotline navigate and interpret what happened to them and to provide a space to take steps to move forward and start healing.”

The hotline is completely confidential and anonymous. Staffers on the hotline will never ask for a visitor’s personal information, including their name, location, or their family’s immigration status.

“Fear of deportation or retaliation is something that can discourage people from speaking out about injustice and abuse happening to them,” says Gamboa. “We are here to listen and help. We do what we can to meet visitors where they are at and connect them to culturally specific and long-term support. We understand that particularly for marginalized communities, law enforcement and government agencies may not feel like safe spaces.”

Whether someone is concerned about the police, or about family members finding out, we’re here to support and not judge, says Claudia Figueroa, National Sexual Assault Hotline shift lead. “Sexual violence is more common than we think and it is never the survivor’s fault. Seeking help is a way of moving forward and healing, your voice is your power.”

RAINN is here to support survivors and loved ones 24/7. To talk to someone anonymously and confidentially in Spanish or English, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline is available by phone at 800.656.4673 and chat at rainn.org/es (or in English at online.rainn.org).

Eight out of 10 sexual assaults are committed by someone who knows the victim.

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