May 2010
The New Face of the Online Hotline

A new look for the award-winning hotline

New OHLRAINN this month launched a redesign of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, to better serve the record number of victims who are turning to the online service for recovery help. The Online Hotline’s new design is more intuitive, easier to navigate, and more visually appealing. It also features a new virtual tour of the hotline, which visitors can view before entering into a session. These upgrades will enhance each visitor’s experience as well as assist victims and their families in getting the help they need.

Learn more and take a tour read more

Veterans’ Committee Investigates Military Sexual Trauma

Scott BerkowitzThe House Veterans’ Affairs Committee this month invited Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s president, Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, and other experts to testify about the current state of efforts to help military service members and veterans who have been victims of sexual violence. 

The hearing, held jointly by two subcommittees, was chaired by Reps. John Hall (D-NY) and Michael Michaud (D-ME) along with the panels’ ranking members, Reps. Henry Brown (R-SC) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO). Witnesses also discussed programs to prevent attacks and increase the number of prosecutions.

Read more read more

Mick Foley Talks to Soldiers About Fighting Sexual Assault

Mick Foley“After 25 years in professional wrestling, I really thought I knew pain,” Mick Foley said before a crowd of Army trainees and their commanders. “I was wrong. Every week on the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, I bear witness to the type of pain I can only guess at.”

Before hundreds of soldiers in training at Fort Lee in Virginia, Foley, a former WWE world champion, and now a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council and volunteer for the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, spoke of the dire mental health effects — such as PTSD, depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders — that victims of sexual assault often face.

Read more about Foley's visit to Fort Lee read more

Congress Gets Update on Rape Kit Backlog

Rape Kit BacklogRep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), actress Mariska Hargitay and other witnesses this month updated the House Judiciary Committee on the continuing national backlog of untested DNA evidence. Maloney, the original sponsor of the Debbie Smith Act, which has helped police test evidence from thousands of open rape cases, led off the hearing by urging Congress to help eliminate the backlog, once and for all.

The hearing, led by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the crime subcommittee, was emotional at times as witnesses talked about the frustration and fear that victims experience, knowing that their rapists remain free while the evidence sits untested. Witness Valerie Neumann, who was raped on her birthday three years ago, observed that, “Testing a rape kit is so important because it can identify an assailant, confirm a suspect’s contact with a victim, corroborate a victim’s account of the crime — especially useful in acquaintance rapes — connect apparently unrelated crimes, and exonerate innocent suspects.”

Katie’s Law Passes in the U.S. House of Representatives

Katie's LawThe U.S. House of Representatives passed the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act of 2010 to maximize the potential of forensic DNA to solve and prevent violent crimes. “Katie’s Law” is named after Katie Sepich, a 22-year old college student who was brutally raped and murdered in Las Cruces, New Mexico. If New Mexico had required a DNA sample to be taken upon arrest, Katie’s killer would have been caught three months after the murder when the murderer was arrested for another predatory crime. Instead it took three long years.

Introduced by Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM), “Katie’s Law” provides states incentives to collect a DNA sample from people arrested for felonies, at the same time as they currently collect fingerprints. Currently 22 states collect DNA from at least some people arrested for a felony. Katie’s Law is expected to be introduced in the Senate later this year.

Pakistani Delegation Visits RAINN

PakistanEarlier this month, RAINN representatives met with Pakistani delegates to discuss strategies to fight sexual violence. The Pakistani delegation was in DC for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. RAINN staff briefed the Pakistani delegation about the the importance of victim services, such as those provided by the National Sexual Assault Hotline; RAINN’s efforts to increase public awareness about the crime of sexual assault; and the importance of building political support for initiatives to fight rape.

 RAINN in the News

ParentDish"Roman Polanski is no better than any common criminal.”
—RAINN spokesperson Katherine Hull, speaking with ParentDish about the importance of film director, and convicted child molester, Roman Polanski serving time for his conviction.

Herald“Universities and colleges are not equipped to handle allegations of rape and sexual assault. Overwhelmingly, victims are not well served by these internal processes.”
—RAINN spokesperson Elizabeth Crothers, speaking to Brown University’s Brown Daily Herald.

CPI"It's clear that the whole system is broken. Instead of treating rape like the violent felony it is, colleges treat it like an overdue book.”
—RAINN president Scott Berkowitz, commenting on an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity.

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RAINN Recognized for Leadership in Community Service

George Washington University’s Office of Community Service has selected RAINN as its Community Partner of the Year.


RAINN and GWU have a close relationship and longstanding partnership. RAINN employs 19 GWU students to work on the Online Hotline, through university’s Federal Work-Study program. Two GWU undergrads are currently interning at RAINN, and 28 more students are volunteers for the Online Hotline. RAINN has also assisted the university with events, and GWU takes part in RAINN Day, an annual program to educate college students about sexual assault prevention and recovery.

Read more about RAINN's involvement on campus read more

Volunteer Spotlight:
Claire Blatt

Claire Blatt“It means a lot to me to be a part of an organization that helps people when they need it most in an immediate and meaningful way. I love the online format because it allows flexibility not only for me, but also for visitors to maintain their anonymity while still getting the help they want. Working with RAINN helped me realize that I want to become a professional counselor and do this kind of work full time. I am so proud to be part of such a great organization!”

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN read more

A Dollar a Day Makes a Difference Year-Round

DonateA way to make a difference every day: Spread your donation throughout the year! Monthly payments allow you to spread your impact year-round to fit your budget. RAINN will charge your credit card for the amount you pledge once a month. (Of course, you can stop the donation at any time.)

Here's what your monthly gift can do:

- 33cents/day will pay for telecom costs for 33 hotline calls

- $1/day will provide prevention safety tips to 18,000 college students

- $2/day will provide 20 hours of in-person training for Online Hotline volunteers

- $3.50/day will help 150 victims through the National Sexual Assault Hotline

Set up a monthly donation today!

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