More than 2,500 military sexual assault survivors have taken the first steps towards recovery during the past year through DoD Safe Helpline, operated by RAINN on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). This month marks the one-year anniversary of the service, which provides a lifeline for military survivors worldwide to receive the confidential support they deserve.
In a presidential proclamation released in honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month, President Obama this month emphasized the importance of fighting sexual assault within our Armed Forces and directed military survivors to DoD Safe Helpline.
President Obama’s sentiment has been echoed by the top command at DoD: “Sexual assault has no place in this department. It is an affront to the basic American values we defend, and to the good honor of our service members and their families," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. "Since taking this office, I've made it one of my top priorities to do everything we can to reduce and prevent sexual assault, to make victims of sexual assault feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution or harm to their career, and to hold the perpetrators appropriately accountable."
The director of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, has praised the success of DoD Safe Helpline in helping military survivors, and noted that more than 30,000 people have gotten information about recovering from sexual assault from Safe Helpline’s website  in the past year.
DoD Safe Helpline received high-profile national attention earlier this year, when ABC’s Private Practice  made television history. The episode featured a character, just returned from Afghanistan, who disclosed that he was raped during his military service. This was the first time that a television drama series has featured a male military sexual assault survivor. Following the episode, ABC donated ad space for a PSA to educate members of the military that help is available through DoD Safe Helpline.
“We have worked closely with DoD to make sure our staff are well trained to meet the unique needs of survivors serving in the military, while also making sure that service members are assured anonymity,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN. “DoD Safe Helpline provides the very best care and recovery assistance to those who need — and deserve —help.”
Tell a service member in your life about DoD Safe Helpline. Confidential help is just a call, click or text away. Visit Safe Helpline  or call 877-995-5247.