May 2013

Safe Helpline App Wins Award
for Innovation in Telemedicine

The DoD Safe Helpline app, a self-care app created by RAINN on behalf of the Department of Defense, has won the 2013 American Telemedicine Association's (ATA) President's Award for Innovation. The award recognizes advances in telemedicine through innovative new technology development.

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ATA is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies; its members include technology leaders such as Accenture and Intel; major healthcare providers such as Mayo Clinic and WellPoint; and federal agencies such as USAMRMC.

The Safe Helpline app is a free tool that allows sexual assault survivors in the military to create a customized self-care plan. The self-care plan and exercises are stored only on your mobile device, so they remain completely confidential. Once you download the app, you don't need an internet connection to use it.

Download the app from iTunes or Google Play or read more about app.

New Standards Issued for Sexual Assault Exams

Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the release of the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, designed to prescribe the methods by which evidence should be collected and specify what equipment should be available for the examination.

Revised from voluntary guidelines issued in 2004, the new standards are mandatory for practitioners working in federal prisons or in the military (and it is hoped that all states will follow them). The guidelines emphasize the critical importance of a coordinated team approach between law enforcement officers, prosecutors, advocates, and health professionals, and prioritize the complex physical and emotional needs victims of sexual assault.

They guidelines also state that voluntary drug or alcohol use by a victim has no impact on the seriousness of the crime committed against them. They urge case practitioners, in instances where a victim is reluctant to report the crime, to encourage — but not force or overly pressure — the victim to have a forensic medical exam so that the evidence is collected and available for later use.

Read more about forensic exams.

DoD Reports Increase in Sexual Assaults
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The Department of Defense's newly-released annual report estimates that 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year, up from an estimated 19,000 in 2010. The report, based on an anonymous survey of military members, says that only 3,374 victims reported their attack. Forty-seven percent of victims cited a fear of retaliation or reprisal as a reason for not reporting, while 43% said they had heard about negative experiences of other victims who reported their attack.

Calling this "one of the most serious challenges facing the department," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced steps to increase officers' accountability for what happens under their commands, and to inspect military facilities, including military academies, for inappropriate work environments. Separately, a new Congressionally mandated task force is charged with assessing DoD's systems for adjudicating sexual assault crimes. Both the House and Senate are considering additional legislation to change the military justice system in order to encourage more reports and more prosecutions.

The report came just days after the arrest of Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, head of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, by Arlington, VA, police on charges of sexual battery.

RAINN operates the DoD Safe Helpline through a contract with the Defense Department. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one support and information to the worldwide DoD community. The service is confidential, anonymous and secure; the contents of conversations are not shared with DoD or the user's chain of command. Last month, the program launched Safe HelpRoom, a secure moderated group chat service and allows survivors in the military to connect with, and support, one another.

Glee Partnership Leads to Hotline Use Soaring
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The number of people who received help from the National Sexual Assault Hotline soared following an episode of Fox's hit show Glee. The episode included a PSA urging victims to contact the hotline.

In the episode, two glee club members — one male and one female — disclose that they are survivors of sexual violence. In the PSA, Glee stars Becca Tobin and Blake Jenner urge viewers who are living with a secret of sexual assault to take the first step towards recovery by contacting RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline ( & 800.656.HOPE).

On April 26th, the day after the episode aired, the Online Hotline experienced had its second-busiest day since the service launched in 2006. Overall, there Online Hotline usage was up by 60%, while calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline rose 80%. Online Hotline usage has remained high in the month since the show aired — in fact, it has been the busiest month in the hotline's history.

Read more about RAINN's collaboration with Glee.

Facebook Charities: Give the
Gift of Hope for Survivors
facebook gifts Logo

Facebook users can now give a gift that will mean a lot to family and friends: a donation to RAINN. With Facebook Gifts, users can choose from gifts ranging from $1-$1,000, making a donation to RAINN in a friend's name or giving the donation as a gift directly from their timeline or the birthday reminders on their newsfeed. RAINN is one of 11 national charities chosen by Facebook to partner on the launch of the Facebook Gifts platform.

"RAINN is thrilled to be a part of the charitable gift platform and recognized by Facebook for our work leading the national fight against sexual violence," Katherine Hull, RAINN's vice president of communications, said. "Facebook is already an integral part of our community engagement, and now this feature will help us to expand our reach, increasing awareness of sexual violence and funds to help survivors."

Gifts to RAINN will support survivors and help them take their first steps towards recovery through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and The Facebook Gifts feature is now available to all U.S.-based users.

So go ahead and celebrate someone special by making a Facebook Gift to RAINN.

"Like" RAINN on Facebook.


 RAINN in the News

act mtv logo "Sexual assault isn't just something people have to face in real life: Sometimes it pops up on our favorite TV shows, too. The topic is tough to portray, and actors often work closely with organizations like RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) to accurately and sensitively portray sexual assault victims." — MTV Act

cbs logo "We know for a fact from all of the academic research that rapists do this over and over and over, and it's kind of obvious why. They get away with it. A 23 percent prosecution rate is indefensible. You know, it says that we're just not taking this seriously." — RAINN's Scott Berkowitz on CBS in Phoenix, AZ

examiner logo "We're so fortunate to have Robert [Zorella's] support. He's made a difference in the lives of so many through the Online Hotline — and now he's raising funds to ensure that RAINN can continue this important work fighting sexual violence." — RAINN's Katherine Hull in the Examiner

More News
A Race to Remember
rainn em in event

Through her love of sports and her desire to make the topic of sexual violence more approachable, survivor Jennifer Shipe created RAINN 'EM IN, a human-powered horse race where teams bounce on inflatable ponies to the finish line in a fight against sexual violence. Last year, Shipe held the first RAINN 'EM IN event in Seattle, WA.

Last week, she hosted Seattle's 2nd annual RAINN 'EM IN. This year, ponies raced out of the gates at the nationally renowned Emerald Downs track. Teams bounced through the mud, laughing all the way, with hundreds of onlookers cheering them on.

The fun isn't over yet, with two more events coming up: Lancaster, PA on June 2 and Washington DC on June 8. Live nearby? Gather your friends and start a team or buy tickets to witness the spectacle! Live far away? You can still make a donation to support the effort. Shipe's goal is for RAINN 'EM IN to raise enough to help 595 survivors through RAINN's Online Hotline.

Learn more about RAINN 'EM IN and stay connected with @rainnemin on Twitter and /RAINNEmIn on Facebook.

Models For A Cause

This month, NYC's top fashion models and their friends gathered for an evening of music and art to support RAINN, hosted by Project Model Tee (PMT). At indie music venue Rockwood Music Hall, talented models entertained the audience with intimate musical performances and showcased their artwork in a silent auction. The event raised the funds to enable 41 survivors to get help through RAINN's Online Hotline.

project model tee logo

"Edythe Hughes, who created PMT to give models a platform to showcase their talents while benefiting a good cause, created a terrific event that will directly benefit dozens of survivors reaching out for help," said Chelsea Bowers, RAINN's development director.

Military App Now Allows Free Calls Worldwide

Sexual assault survivors stationed anywhere in the world can now call DoD Safe Helpline at no charge through the Safe Helpline app. Instead of using cell minutes or forcing the caller to make an international call, the app now allows calls to connect via Wi-Fi or using their phone's data plan. This feature is now available in the app for iPhone and iPad (yes, you can even make calls directly from your iPad) and will soon be added to the Android app.

safe helpline app

The Safe Helpline app allows survivors to create a personalized self-care plan to help in their recovery process. It also provides information about recovering from an attack, a searchable database of military and civilian help, and easy access to helpline staff for crisis intervention, advice and support.

Read more about the Safe Helpline app.

Spotlight on the Speakers Bureau: Joseph Ransohoff

"I joined the RAINN Speakers Bureau to try to bring hope to someone who feels lost, who feels mired in fear and sadness, who may not see a way out of the shame and confusion of being sexually abused. There is no easy way out, but with the help and true love of others, it can be done. I am moving through it myself, and if I can help another person, I will have done a beautiful thing."

Learn more about becoming a member of RAINN's Speakers Bureau.

Volunteer Spotlight: Chiara Guzzardo, Online Hotline Volunteer

"The best thing about working on the Online Hotline is when I've established trust with a visitor and they are able to tell me something they have never told anyone before. It's an amazing feeling to connect with a visitor and a tremendous sense of accomplishment for both the visitor and myself when they are able to tell me something they've never said before."

Learn more about volunteering for RAINN.

Connect With RAINN on Twitter!

Want to stay updated about RAINN news and events and fun ways to get involved? Start following RAINN on Twitter today!

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