April 2013

Glee & RAINN Team Up for Episode
Dealing with Sexual Assault

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Glee, FOX's hit show, has done it again, tackling an issue important issue to teens: sexual abuse and assault. In this week's episode, two glee club members — one male and one female — disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence. Working with RAINN, Glee stars Becca Tobin and Blake Jenner filmed a PSA for the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which Fox aired at the end of the episode.

The episode, "Lights Out," is timely, with the Steubenville case still in the news and new reports about teens that have committed suicide following sexual assaults in Canada and Los Angeles. The recent spotlight on the correlation between sexual assault and suicide emphasizes the importance of survivors getting help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org).

Read more about RAINN's collaboration with Glee here.

New HelpRoom Offers Secure Online Peer Support
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Safe HelpRoom, a secure moderated group chat service, is making it possible for sexual assault survivors in the military to connect with and support one another. The newest of five support services provided by DoD Safe Helpline, Safe HelpRoom addresses the exact needs of sexual assault survivors in the military by building sessions around topics selected by participants.

"Online peer support is a popular way for survivors to seek help, but many times, the options available aren't safe," said Jennifer Marsh, RAINN's vice president for victim services.

"Safe HelpRoom makes it easy for survivors to get practical advice from peers; advice that can often help reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation, and lead to improved coping skills and reduced stress, depression and anxiety."

Safe HelpRoom participants and sessions remain completely anonymous and confidential. The service does not capture personal information or save session transcripts, and participants cannot share personally identifying information.

Read more about the Safe HelpRoom here.

RAINN Honored with Congressional Award
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Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA) and other members of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus are honoring RAINN's work helping survivors and fighting sexual violence. At a ceremony on Capitol Hill attended by anti-crime organizations and members of Congress, Poe, the caucus co-chair, presented RAINN president Scott Berkowitz with the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness, which is named for a victims' rights pioneer.

According to Poe, RAINN was nominated for the award in part for its leadership and longtime work to end the backlog of untested rape kits, including helping to pass the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting (SAFER) Act, which was signed into law last month. SAFER, sponsored by Poe along with Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), will help eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence from unsolved rape cases and take countless rapists off the streets. SAFER will bring transparency to the testing process and increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system by more effectively targeting areas with large backlogs. The bill requires participating law enforcement agencies to audit and publicly disclose their backlogs for the first time. It also reallocates existing funding to ensure that much more gets spent directly on testing evidence and solving cases (without increasing the deficit).

Learn more about the SAFER Act.

Read more about RAINN receiving the Suzanne McDaniel Memorial Award for Public Awareness here.

Laurie Halse Anderson, author of
Speak, and RAINN Join Forces
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This month, Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, partnered with RAINN to launch #Speak4RAINN — a Twitter campaign to raise funds for survivors of sexual violence. The campaign has ignited a national conversation about sexual violence and, so far, has raised the funds to help 622 survivors though RAINN's Online Hotline.

The campaign coincides with the 14th anniversary of Speak, a powerful story that follows a high school freshman as she recovers from a sexual assault and eventually speaks out about what happened to her after months of silence and isolation. For years survivors have told RAINN and Anderson about the positive impact the book has had on them in their own journey to recovery. Now the book is working to help survivors in a new and exciting way.

In a recent interview, Anderson said, "If you go on the RAINN website, they have the best source of sexual assault statistics in the world. But I think it's more than half of the women who are raped are under eighteen, and of that group, a staggering number of girls are raped before they're fifteen. And so, these are topics that if we start talking to seventeen year olds about it, we're way too late. We have to be talking to eleven year olds about this. Twelve year olds, thirteen years olds."

Anderson has offered some incredible incentives for donors: For a donation of $500 she will name a character after you (or someone you choose) in her next novel — what a great birthday present or Mother's Day gift! Anderson will also review your manuscript with you over Skype; group Skype with your writers' group or book club; and even take you and your friends out to lunch! Read more about the campaign, and these exciting incentives.

Anderson's influential novel Speak has given thousands of survivors the courage to come forward. To join Anderson in showing other survivors that recovery is possible, make your contribution today. All donations to the #Speak4RAINN campaign will be matched, up to $10,000, by Macmillan, the publisher of Speak.

Stay tuned to RAINN's Twitter feed (@RAINN01) for the latest on #Speak4RAINN.


 RAINN in the News

pbs news hour logo "Resources that Dickey would recommend... include RAINN which created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org)..."
60 Minutes story about Toronto Blue Jays' pitcher R.A. Dickey

speak book cover "One of the greatest tools we have to start these conversations are books. Most teens don't want to sit in a room with a grownup and talk about their sexual habits, but if there's a book featuring the issue, you can talk about that stuff and apply the lessons to your own life. I hope this can spark a conversation about how we can do better by boys, so they can behave in a way that's more respectful to girls."
Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak

people logo "I think teaching kids about sexual abuse is so crucial to preventing it and putting an end to it," he says. "Erin [Merryn] knows how damaging abuse can be. I think it's incredible that she's been able to take that and turn it into something so positive in a way that's going to help so many people."
— RAINN's Scott Berkowitz in People

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Rep. Tom Latham
Rep. Tom Latham

"Groups like RAINN help heal the pain caused by sexual violence and work diligently to reduce the occurrence of horrific crimes, and I am proud to support them in their efforts. We must continue to do all we can to raise awareness of this issue, reassure victims that they have a place to turn to, and ensure that criminals responsible for these malicious acts face the full force of justice"
— Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA)

Rep. Sheila Jackson
Rep. Sheila
Jackson Lee

"There are no greater crimes that an individual can commit than the crimes of sexual molestation and sexual assault. The perpetrators of these crimes rob victims of their innocence. Moreover, victims of sexual assault are profoundly affected for the rest of their lives. As elected officials, we have an obligation to condemn this violence, work for stronger enforcement of the law and provide adequate funding for programs to assist individuals who may have experienced such abuse. I applaud RAINN for its tireless leadership, and look forward to continuing working with them to address this issue."
— Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)

More News
One Week Left to Have Your Donation Doubled
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You have just one week left to have you gift to RAINN matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a fellow donor. Through April 30, your $1 = $2, doubling the impact you make in the fight against sexual violence.

The number of people getting help from RAINN's Online Hotline is up 19% this year, so we need your support today. Please consider taking action now, when your dollar will help twice the number of survivors.

Unique Mother's Day Gifts that Benefit RAINN

Looking for a unique Mother's Day present, a "just because" gift for a friend or something special for yourself? Find the perfect gift at UncommonGoods.

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Until Sunday, April 28, you can select RAINN at checkout and $2 from your purchase will help survivors of sexual violence. Check out RAINN's favorites, like the tree of life necklace, and explore the rest of the site for other unique ideas. Happy shopping!

Join the Human-Powered Horse Race
rainn em in

One year ago, Penn State graduate and survivor Jennifer Shipe held her first RAINN 'EM IN event in Seattle, WA. Through her love of sports and her desire to make the topic of sexual violence more approachable, Shipe developed the concept of a human-powered horse race: a relay race where teams bounce on inflatable ponies to the finish line in a fight against sexual violence.

Inspired by the success of last year's RAINN 'EM IN in Seattle, Shipe decided to expand the event to three cities in 2013:

Seattle, WA
Saturday, May 18

Lancaster, PA
Sunday, June 2

Washington, D.C.
Saturday, June 8

To learn more about the RAINN 'EM IN event in your city, register a team or purchase a ticket, please visit rainnemin.com. We hope you'll take part in this day of laugh-till-you-cry-fun, all while benefiting an important cause!

Stay tuned on twitter with @rainnemin or Facebook at /RAINNEmIn

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Theresa Marie
Theresa Marie

"As a part of the Speakers Bureau I've learned more about myself than I would have if not having RAINN in my life. I've learned to be more compassionate, open and honest with myself and others. I've learned to be courageous, powerful, and resourceful despite my trauma. RAINN's Speakers Bureau has given me a positive way to cope with what I went through by helping others which has eventually bettered myself."

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

Hotline Staffer Spotlight:
Kelly Hughes
Kelly Hughes

"I learned of the Online Hotline through RAINN's website after I made a donation when the Sandusky scandal began. I am a proud Penn State grad who wanted to show that we care and make a difference in the lives of sexual abuse survivors. It is a privilege to work as a hotline staffer and to help these survivors. They are all so appreciative and many are so happy to know that someone cares."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN

Did You Know?
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Nearly half of all survivors of sexual assault are under the age of 18.

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

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