How the RAINN Speakers Bureau Creates Political Change

The RAINN Speakers Bureau is a network of more than 4,000 survivors of sexual violence who volunteer to share their stories. Members across the United States share their experiences through the media, community events, artistic projects, and more. “Joining the Speakers Bureau made me feel like I was helping others as well as myself,” says Speakers Bureau member Rebecca Courtright. “By using my voice, I feel I have regained my true path to help others and create a better future for all victims of sexual violence.”

Maryland Working Group Recommends Training for Judges Handling Custody Cases Involving Child Sexual Abuse

For many parents, going to court to fight for custody of their children is unimaginably difficult, and for those who are seeking custody because of child abuse or domestic violence, it can also be the deciding factor for the health and safety of them and their child.“The way children disclose or react when around an abuser just looks different than what an adult might do,” said Cooper. “If judges and others aren’t trained in looking out for these signs, they could be condemning a child to full, unsupervised custody with a parent who is physically and sexually abusing them.”

RAINN Responds to Release of Previous Testimony by Ghislaine Maxwell

“We are encouraged to see more information coming to light. For too long, power and wealth shielded Epstein and Maxwell and prevented the public from knowing the extent and nature of their predatory behavior. RAINN is hopeful that Maxwell, and anyone else who participated in the grooming and abuse of children, will be held accountable, regardless of how powerful or well connected they may be.” - Erinn Robinson, Press Secretary, RAINN

RAINN Applauds New Charges Against Harvey Weinstein

“We thank the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for continuing its investigation and bringing additional charges against Harvey Weinstein. Seeing powerful perpetrators face justice sends a strong message to the public. We continue to be inspired by the survivors speaking out and moments like this when, no matter how powerful or well-connected, perpetrators of these crimes do not escape the harm they have caused.” - Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN.

RAINN Files Amicus Brief to Uphold Cosby Conviction on Appeal

As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court weighs Bill Cosby’s appeal of his conviction, RAINN and its pro bono legal partners at Hogan Lovells US LLP, have filed an amicus brief arguing to uphold the verdict. “The similarities in Cosby’s crimes are no coincidence. Cosby has shown a clear and consistent pattern of predatory behavior,” said Berkowitz. “We support the court’s decision to allow testimony from other victims of Cosby to demonstrate his pattern of behavior.”

Title IX During COVID-19

Returning to college campuses this fall will undoubtedly look unfamiliar for many college students, and for students who are survivors of sexual assault, navigating resources and reporting may be more challenging due to COVID-19. “Remote learning doesn’t mean sexual violence stops,” said Keeli Sorensen, vice president of victim services at RAINN. “We need to ensure that students are able to learn in a safe virtual environment and that they still feel supported by their university if something were to happen.”

New RAINN-Supported Legislation Seeks to Help Rescue Children from Harm

A bipartisan group of members of Congress, led by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Ben Cline (R-VA), has introduced the Child RESCUE Act, which will help ensure that children experiencing abuse can be identified and removed from harm as soon as possible. To create a proactive strategy to identify dual offenders and remove kids from harm, the Child RESCUE Act would establish a commission that brings together subject matter experts from the FBI, Department of Justice, RAINN, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

How RAINN’s Policy Team Works to Help Survivors

Recently, as Congress has considered police reform legislation, RAINN has urged House and Senate leaders to include a number of additional changes to help survivors of sexual violence. RAINN’s suggestions address issues that disproportionately impact Black victims of sexual violence, especially Black girls, who are overrepresented in juvenile justice data.

RAINN Shares Recommendations for Additional Police Reforms with Congressional Leadership

Black girls are disproportionately represented in juvenile justice data. According to research, “Black girls are 14% of the youth population, but are 33% of girls who are detained and committed. Seventy-six percent of justice-involved girls have physical and sex abuse histories.”As Congress considers police reform legislation, RAINN has urged House and Senate leaders to include a number of additional reforms to address issues that disproportionately impact Black victims of sexual violence. 

RAINN Working to Secure Federal Funding for Rape Kits, Forensic Nurses

This April, RAINN’s public policy team will be focusing on a few pieces of bipartisan federal legislation vital to getting justice for survivors of sexual violence. As members of Congress meet throughout the month to work on fiscal year 2021 appropriations, “RAINN will be there to make sure that legislators prioritize funding that will give survivors more access to sexual assault forensic nurse examiners and reduces the rape kit backlog,” says Camille Cooper, vice president of public policy.

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