April 18, 2006 – (Washington, DC) – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, issued the following statement today regarding the arrest this morning of two Duke University lacrosse players on charges of rape, sexual offense and kidnapping.
Despite the fact that DNA tests do not link any members of Duke University’s lacrosse team to the woman who reported that three of its players sexually assaulted her last month, the district attorney’s office strongly believes that enough evidence exists to continue this investigation in a court of law.
“ This case is not about race, or athletes or strippers –
it is about a rape.
"Given this news, it’s apparent that the prosecution is convinced there was a crime and a grand jury agrees. This case is not about race, or athletes or strippers – it is about a rape. As a nation, we need to trust law enforcement to do its job and avoid assumptions until we know all the facts. National, well publicized, sexual assault cases have the potential to raise reporting rates above the current level of 42 percent if they cause victims to feel more comfortable seeking help,” continued Berkowitz. “ Whatever the outcome, we hope that seeing how seriously investigators have taken this case will encourage future rape victims to report their assault. The more rapes that are reported, the more rapists we can bring to justice. Victims of sexual assault should not hesitate to seek help through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) and their local police department.”
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE, in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers. Later this year, RAINN will launch the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, the web’s first secure hotline service. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.