Father and Attorney Shares Why He Supports RAINN

Each month, RAINN highlights a member of its National Leadership Council. The NLC is a group of dedicated individuals who have shown their commitment to RAINN’s mission of supporting survivors and ending sexual violence. This month we checked in with John Marciano, long-time RAINN supporter, partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, and founder of the John and Lauren Marciano Legal Fellowship — RAINN’s first public policy fellowship to advance our work in ensuring justice for survivors of sexual violence.

What inspired you to become part of RAINN’s National Leadership Council? What started your interest in this issue?

When I was in elementary school, there was a serial rapist plaguing my town, which had recently been the safest town in America. I heard the stories and knew some of the victims, but it seemed very distant to my life. I didn’t even know what the words meant at that time.

As time went by I started to see first hand how sexual assault also affects people closer to home and in less overly violent ways. Those instances moved me greatly, but it is easy to feel helpless. RAINN is helping so many kids and teens deal with what should be adult issues. It is really great.

How can we all be better supporters and advocates for survivors in our lives?

Don’t judge. Create open/safe spaces for dialogue and support.

As a parent, what are your hopes for the future of prevention and awareness around sexual violence?

I hope my kids will feel comfortable talking about these issues with me. No kid should feel like he/she won’t be believed or it is their fault. I hope we can create an atmosphere where kids feel like there is a path to end the abuse. The worst situation is where people think there’s no solution. There is. There should be.

How has your passion for ending sexual violence influenced other areas of your life?

I think it has helped me develop empathy. To put myself in the other person’s shoes in whatever the situation. As a lawyer, I ask myself why the person wants what they want or feels how they feel. What is driving their point of view. You won’t know precisely, but trying to see their perspective often helps understand how to reach a resolution.

What is your message to survivors?

Honestly, I’m still working on it, but it gets better. Talking is very helpful.

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