RAINN Media Trainings Help Prepare Survivors to Share Their Stories

The RAINN Speakers Bureau is a network of over 3,500 survivors of sexual violence from across the nation who volunteer to share their stories to raise awareness and let other survivors know they’re not alone. Speakers Bureau members have spoken in front of Congress, on national TV and radio programs and podcasts, and in schools and organizations across the country.

Every survivor is an expert in their own story, but for many, it can be hard to talk about what happened. For those who want to share their stories and are looking for guidance on what to expect when speaking with journalists, on TV, or in front of a crowd, RAINN holds free media trainings.

“It’s our goal to make sure every Speakers Bureau member feels comfortable, empowered, and prepared to share their stories—whether they have been talking about their experience with sexual violence publicly for years, or are looking to do so for the first time,” says April Cisneros, speakers bureau manager at RAINN. “Whether it is developing a short and impactful sound bite, understanding how facial expressions and tone come across on camera, or learning how to tailor your message to different audiences, knowing a few of these tips can help members feel more confident in giving presentations and working with the media.”

For Rena Romano, a certified speaking coach and member of the Speakers Bureau, attending RAINN’s recent media training in Orlando, FL was an opportunity to refine the nuances of how she presents her story.

“Even though I already had a lot of experience in sharing my story publicly, I still found the training really helpful,” says Romano. “One thing we learned was to connect your personal story with statistics of sexual violence more generally, so that you’re not only sharing what happened to you, but contributing to a larger narrative of how this issue affects us all.”

Romano also mentioned how the training helped her think of strategies to frame her story in a way that is specific and powerful but is not retraumatizing for other survivors to hear, and provides a sense of hope and healing.

“When survivors share their stories, it not only brings hope to others going through something similar to know that they are not alone and that there is still a meaningful and good life beyond the trauma that’s occurred, but it also humanizes the issue and helps everyone understand that there is no one type of experience with sexual violence, the criminal justice system, or healing,” says Cisneros. “We’re deeply grateful for the Pinpoint Foundation, which provided seed funding, and Nick Lanyi and Christina Boomer Vazquez, who volunteered their expertise, to make these trainings possible.”






To request a Speakers Bureau member to speak at an event, to apply to be part of the RAINN Speakers Bureau, or to learn more, visit RAINN’s Speakers Bureau page.