Private Practice Partners with RAINN As ABC Makes TV History
ABC made television history this month when its hit drama Private Practice ran a storyline about a male survivor of sexual assault in the military. The episode featured a character that had just returned from Afghanistan, who discloses that he was raped during his military service. This was the first time that a television drama series has featured a male military sexual assault survivor.
The Private Practice team, led by the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, partnered with RAINN for the second time in the last year. Experts on RAINN's staff were able to help the show's writers and producers understand what many men go through after an assault, and the challenges they face in their recovery process.
Following the February 2 episode, ABC donated ad space to educate members of the military that help is available through the DoD Safe Helpline, which RAINN operates for the Department of Defense.
ABC's public service announcement and the dynamic social media push on Twitter drove the DoD Safe Helpline to its highest usage since its launch in April 2011. Shonda Rhimes and cast members such as Amy Brenneman, Kate Walsh, Tim Daly and Paul Adelstein, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs, tweeted widely, getting information about Safe Helpline to more than 150,000 Twitter users. Actress and RAINN National Leadership Council member KaDee Strickland (@KaDeeStrick) live-tweeted during the episode: "Tell a service member in ur life about DoD #SafeHelpline operated by @RAINN01 for military sexual assault help."