September 2010
Vice President Biden Highlights
RAINN Day College Program

RAINN Day 2010Vice President Joe Biden last week highlighted RAINN for the success of its college education program, RAINN Day. At an event at his home honoring the anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which then-Senator Biden authored in 1994, the Vice President discussed RAINN Day, noting the importance of its work in teaching college students about sexual assault prevention and recovery. Vice President Biden, who was a lead Senate sponsor of key DNA legislation and other efforts to combat sexual violence, also talked about his continuing commitment to fighting the crime.

Last week, thousands of volunteers, from college students to supporters to university administrators, helped RAINN implement the sixth annual RAINN Day program on campuses (for an example, check out Michigan Technological University’s RAINN Day program). With support from the Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime, RAINN created a comprehensive guide for its campus organizers and created posters, brochures, handouts and other materials for use on each campus.

90210 Features RAINN as it
Takes on Sexual Violence

9021090210 and RAINN teamed up this month to address one of the most important issues to viewers of the hit show: sexual violence. The new season of the CW drama features a plot line involving the rape, and its aftermath, of one of the show’s main characters, Naomi. The core audience of 90210 is 18-34 year olds, who happen to be the demographic most at risk of sexual assault (80% of all victims are under 30). In a PSA airing in conjunction with the first two episodes of the season, actress AnnaLynne McCord, who plays Naomi, stresses the importance of getting help through RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and The PSAs led to a 115% increase in hotline usage.

Watch this episode and learn more about 90210 read more

A Crime Without Consequence

Senate Investigates Low Reporting & Conviction Rates, Turns to RAINN Leaders for Advice

Crime and Drug SubcommitteeThe Senate Judiciary Committee this month took on the disturbing topic of the reporting and prosecution of rape cases — or, more accurately, the lack of reporting and prosecution. Senators Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham, the top Democrat and Republican on the Crime and Drugs subcommittee, respectively, invited Scott Berkowitz, RAINN’s founder and president, and Speakers Bureau member Julie Weil to testify about how to fix the broken system.

Justice Department studies show that six out of ten rape victims do not report their attack to police. Berkowitz told the committee that, given the low reporting rate and the fact that most reported rapes don’t lead to an arrest and conviction, as many as 15 out of every 16 rapists will never spend even a single day in prison. “In America today, rape is a crime without consequence — except for the victim,” Berkowitz testified. “Not only do rapists escape any punishment for the crime they’ve just committed, they’re emboldened to commit another rape, and many more after that. Not surprisingly, rapists have figured this out.”

Read more on the hearing read more

 RAINN in the News

Fox5-DCJust hours before a Senate hearing on the under-reporting of rape in the U.S., RAINN spokeswoman Katherine Hull and Speakers Bureau member Julie Weil were interviewed by the Washington, DC affiliate of Fox News. Hull stressed that many rapists are serial rapists and career criminals and that reporting is key to getting rapists off the street. Weil shared her experience of surviving a brutal attack and ultimately bringing her rapist to justice.
View the segment read more

The Crime ReportThe Crime Report
In an article about the difficulty of prosecuting incest, The Crime Report interviewed two RAINN Speakers Bureau members, John Mark Clubb and Kayla Garriott, as well as RAINN’s Scott Berkowitz
Read the full article read more
RAINN’s college program, RAINN Day, and the organization’s Girl with a Dragon Tattoo screening program, were highlighted in a recent article: “Thousands of free DVDs were up for grabs to college campuses and rape crisis centers who want to screen The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to draw in a wider audience they can educate about rape prevention and awareness. It's a great tactic: most groups and crisis centers regularly run up against the problem of preaching to the choir, so using pop culture as a draw for people who wouldn't otherwise attend this kind of event can open up whole new audiences.”
Read the full article read more

The Rape Kit Backlog: A Special Law & Order SVU

Law & OrderNBC’s Law & Order SVU last night sent a powerful message with a new episode on the backlog of untested DNA evidence from rape cases. This episode, starring Mariska Hargitay and guest starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, highlighted the pressing national problem of untested rape kits.

To help solve the rape kit backlog problem, RAINN is working to pass the SAFER Act. Introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX), the SAFER Act will identify the existing backlog and closely track the progress towards testing all outstanding rape evidence kits. SAFER will provide victims and policy-makers with the information they need and deserve to solve the national DNA evidence crisis. Debbie Smith, the Virginia rape survivor after whom the landmark Debbie Smith Act is named, is among those supporting the SAFER Act.

Learn more and help RAINN pass this crucial bill read more

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau:
Mercedes Peguero

Mercedes PegueroSpeakers Bureau member Mercedes Peguero knows how important it is to expand services for Spanish-speaking victims of sexual violence, one of the most under-served groups in the U.S. So this month, she donated her time and skills to help compete in the Pepsi Refresh contest. First prize? A grant that would allow RAINN to expand the Online Hotline to Spanish-speaking Americans. The bilingual Peguero helped translate materials and reach out to new communities and engage new supporters. She even encouraged her friends and family to celebrate her birthday by voting for or donating to RAINN this month!

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Volunteer Spotlight:
Mick Foley

Mick Foley“I always felt that there was a suspicious lack of male voices on the issue of sexual violence, and I cannot think of a better way to spend a few hours a week than helping those people who need RAINN’s services. People lead busy lives, but nonetheless want to help; volunteering for the Online Hotline is as simple as sitting at a desk or on a couch. All it takes is a little understanding and concern and I know there are a lot of people out there who have what it takes. If you’re interested in becoming a part of the fight against sexual violence, there is a spot for you on our team!”

Along with volunteering on the hotline and generously donating proceeds from his new book, Countdown to Lockdown, to RAINN, Foley has encouraged fans to vote for RAINN to receive $250,000 from Pepsi to expand the Online Hotline to help Spanish-speaking victims. PWInsider highlights Mick’s “jarring and touching” personal blog and Twitter account, which he uses to plead to the masses for votes for RAINN. Foley also has a new piece in Slate that talks about his love of RAINN’s first spokesperson, singer Tori Amos, and how her activism introduced him to the important work of RAINN.

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN read more

Let the Countdown Begin...

VoteOnly ONE more day to VOTE for RAINN!

Your VOTE will help RAINN win $250,000 from Pepsi to vastly expand the reach of our Online Hotline.

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Call for Male Survivors

Male SurvivorsA national TV talk show plans to tackle the issues surrounding sexual violence against men and boys, and has asked for RAINN’s help recruiting audience members. The show’s goal is to fill the audience with male survivors and their spouses or partners.

Still in the early planning stage, the show hopes to illustrate the pain that so many survivors experience, and discuss the complicated issues that male survivors face.

Fill out this brief webform to be considered as an audience member (RAINN will share your application with the show’s producers, who are solely responsible for selecting the audience). read more

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