April 2011
SAFER Act Introduced in Congress
No-Cost Bill Will Help End DNA Backlog

SAFER ActRAINN announced its strong support of the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act, just introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX). The SAFER Act will lead to the elimination of the DNA backlog and establish better standards for future tracking, storage and use of DNA evidence in sexual assault cases. The SAFER Act also allows victims to monitor the progress of forensic testing in their own case online, anytime.

"The SAFER Act is the vital next step in our efforts to eliminate the backlog of untested DNA evidence. This bill will help us shine a light on the remaining backlog, and give victims access to the status of their forensic evidence. Ultimately, it will lead to testing more DNA evidence and taking more rapists off our streets," said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN.

The SAFER Act will increase the efficiency of the criminal justice system by more effectively targeting areas with the most significant backlogs, while making the entire process transparent to the public. The bill has strong bipartisan support, making supporters optimistic that it will move quickly through Congress.

Sign the change.org petition to pass the SAFER Act

Want Mick Foley to Mow Your Lawn?

Mick FOley

"Mick Foley — I"ll Mow Your Lawn For Charity!!!!" screamed the TMZ headline, as the entertainment site featured exclusive photos of the wrestling legend, bestselling author and RAINN board member doing just that at a house near Baltimore.

Mowing lawns is just one of the ways Foley has thrown himself into his #10forRAINN fundraising campaign, launched this month on Twitter. Foley (@realMickFoley) is asking friends, followers and fellow RAINN supporters to donate $10 (or more) to help victims of sexual violence.

For a donation of $5000 or more, he'll even pay you a visit and mow your lawn (or just hang out). Says Foley: "If you want ot help survivors of sexual assault, or just want to see a big guy with long hair mowing your lawn in front of your friends, please take part in my #10forRAINN campaign!"

Learn more about Foley's #10forRAINN Campaign

Vice President Biden Announces New Protections for College Students

Biden Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan this month announced the administration's plan to use federal civil rights laws to prevent rape and protect college students who are sexually assaulted. Biden announced that the administration will hold colleges accountable for dealing with sexual violence under Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.

In connection with the announcement, the Education Department issued guidance to schools on the unique concerns that arise in sexual violence cases, such as the role of criminal investigations and a school's independent responsibility to investigate and address sexual violence

Pentagon Event Recognizes SARC's, Safe Helpline

SHLAt a ceremony in the courtyard of the Pentagon, Dr. Clifford Stanley, Under Secretary of Defense, this month presented awards to the top six Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) in the U.S. military. The SARCs were honored for leading efforts to prevent sexual assault and improve services to victims.

Sharon Cooper, executive director of the Defense Human Resources Activity, Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), and Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN also spoke at the ceremony and congradulated the award winners.

The Department of Defense (DoD) event also marked the recent launch of Safe Helpline, a groundbreaking crisis support service that assists victims of sexual assault in the DoD community worldwide. Safe Helpline, operated by RAINN on behalf of the DoD, is confidential, easily accessible and secure, and personally identifiying information is not shared with the user's chain of command.

Learn more about Safe Helpline.

Viacom, CNN and Buzz Media Among Media Partners Promoting RAINN This Month
Entertainment Partnerships Lead to Record Web Traffic

rainn.orgIf you've spent much time online in recent weeks, you've probably noticed RAINN's banners featured prominently on MTV, CNN, AOL and other top sites. These media partners, as well as Buzz Media, Oxygen, the CW and more, this month launched expanded partnerships with RAINN, donating banners and ad space seen by millions of visitors.

The extensive online promotion has led to a 25% increase in visitors to rainn.org and to a record number of people getting help from RAINN's Online Hotline.

To add one of these PSAs or web banners to your website, download them from RAINN's multimedia resource center.

 RAINN in the News

"The rate is such that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted in some way during their lifetime"
—Mick Foley, RAINN board member and volunteer, on sexual violence and why he started his #10forRAINN campaign.

"He says he understands authorities want Riensche in jail, but says the judge's decision targets victims already reluctant to come forward."
—Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN, on judge's unusual decision to threaten a sexual assault victim with jail if she doesn't testify

"The first time I talked to her she said, 'I want to make sure that I am absolutely getting it right in honoring the experience of those who have taken this journey and survived this kind of brutal sexual act. We walked her through the effects of trauma and she really did her research and studied and really got it."
—Katherine Hull, RAINN spokesperson on working with KaDee Strickland for her portrayal of a rape survivor on ABC's Private Practice

Lawmakers Making a Difference

Congressman Latham"I stand with RAINN in my commitment to making sure victims of sexual violence are given the help they need to recover. We must do everything we can to reduce sexual assaults, protect the innocent and make sure the perpetrators of these awful crimes are brought to justice. This is a cause that everyone in America should understand and support."
Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA)

Rep. Deutch"RAINN is an indispensable leader in our nationwide struggle against sexual assault, domestic abuse, and all forms of sexual violence. Whether it is the free and confidential services provided to victims of these heinous crimes or the public education campaigns that prevent violence and save lives, RAINN is committed to making our communities and our nation safer."

Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL)

More News
The Perfect Mother's Day Gift

MatchAre you looking for a gift as unique as mom? UncommonGoods offers creatively designed, high-quality gifts perfect for Mother's Day. If you place an order by May 8, enter source code 'RAINN' at checkout and UncommonGoods will donate $5 to support RAINN.

President Obama Declares April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
White House

"As we mark National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we recommit to building a society where no woman, man, or child endures the fear of assault or the pain of an attack on their physical well being and basic human dignity." — President Obama in presedential proclomation

Double Down for RAINN Until April 30

April DoubleNow is a great time to show your support for RAINN and help keep the National Sexual Assault Hotline running. In fact, you can double your impact in the fight against sexual violence.

Through April 30, a group of supporters have agreed to match your donation, dollar-for-dollar. Your donation will help twice as much, so please donate today!

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Chima Simone

Chima Simone

Chima Simone, a courageous rape survivor, is committed to eliminating the shame that far too many people feel as a result of sexual violence. "I believe there is no shame in seeking help, only strength and courage," she says.

In addition to the emotional effects of the assault, Chima suffered facial injuries that required two reconstructive surgeries. But Chima emphasizes that the physical wounds she suffered do not diminish the pain that all survivors experience — regardless of the nature of their attacks.

When she first spoke about her rape, women who Chima had known for years told her their stories of sexual violence and silent suffering. By talking about her experience, Chima believes she is empowering others to seek the help they derseve.

Learn More About Becoming A Member of RAINN's Speakers Bureau

Volunteer Spotlight: Caitlin Breen
Caitlin Breen

"I love volunteering because it is a very human experience. I feel so humbled and inspired by the courage and resilience of the visitors. Volunteering also helps keep me grounded and provide perspective in my life, and guides me as I think about the direction I want to take with my career. "

Learn More About Volunteering for RAINN

Join @RAINN01 on Twitter

TwitterWant to stay updated about RAINN news and events and fun ways to get involved? Start following RAINN on Twitter today. You can also spread the word by re-tweeting our posts and encouraging your friends to follow RAINN.

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