On Monday, February 18, and Tuesday, February 19, The Ricki Lake Show  will air a special two-part series on sexual violence. The shows will profile four courageous members of RAINN’s Speakers Bureau , highlighting how they survived — and thrived — in the years following their assaults.
Lake shows how each woman has devoted time and energy to help her community and fight violence, from opening local rape crisis centers to working on national legislation to helping television shows accurately depict the crime.
On the show, Speakers Bureau member Julie Weil discusses the positive experiences she had with law enforcement officers and medical personnel. She credits them for her ability to report the crime, testify at her rapist’s trial, and ultimately achieve justice, a process that took more than four years. Now, her focus is on federal legislation that aims to reduce the backlog of untested DNA evidence from open rape cases (commonly known as rape kits): the SAFER Act , which is part of the Violence Against Women Act  just passed by the Senate.
RAINN spokesperson and actress KaDee Strickland also appears, along with the survivor who inspired her portrayal of rape survivor Dr. Charlotte King on ABC's Private Practice , Joanie Stewart. Stewart says that “sharing my story with her and watching how it colored parts of her performance gave meaning and closure to the nasty trial I had recently gone through. I had never had anyone ‘receive’ my story as she did.”
Survivors Wanda Mills and Keri Potts appeared and spoke of life and healing after sexual assault: “I hope viewers — many of whom have been victims or will be victims — see that there is life after sexual assault. Support systems exist, healing can happen and good things are still possible,” said Potts. Mills stated, “I felt both humbled and honored to be able to share my story, in the hopes it will bring the needed assistance to those who are struggling as they strive to move forward".
Kirk Griffith, a 38-year veteran of the Dallas Special Victims Unit, stressed that there is no surefire way to prevent a perpetrator from committing an act of sexual violence, “My hope is that viewers (both male and female) of these episodes realize these brave survivors of rape are from all walks of life. This violent and cruel type of assault can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time.”
Katherine Hull, who as RAINN’s vice president for communications frequently works with TV writers and producers and helps them convey realistic and accurate information, also appears on the Lake show.
In PSAs airing during the shows, people who have been sexually assaulted are urged to contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org .
Tune in to the Ricki Lake show on Monday, February 18, and Tuesday, February 19. Check your local listings.