May 4, 2006 – (Washington, DC) – RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, issued the following statement today regarding releasing of the name of the alleged victim in the Duke University rape case.
There is no law prohibiting media from releasing the name of a victim in a sexual assault case. However, this has long been a courtesy that responsible media extend to victims.
“ It is our goal and our hope that most victims will be comfortable letting their names be known publicly...being a victim of sexual assault is nothing to be ashamed of.
"In the long term, it is our goal and our hope that most victims will be comfortable letting their names be known publicly, as is the case with victims of most other crimes. After all, being a victim of sexual assault is nothing to be ashamed of. But for the moment, many victims are reluctant to be identified publicly, and that fear of being identified often stops them from reporting their attack to police, continued Berkowitz.Currently, only 42 percent of victims report their sexual assault to the police. There’s a strong societal interest in increasing that percentage, since getting rapists off the streets is the only proven way to prevent future rapes. So, for now, we encourage media to stick to their longstanding practice of not identifying victims without their consent, in the hope that this practice will encourage more victims to pursue prosecution.
Victims of sexual assault can seek free, confidential help through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE). To report a sexual assault to the police, call 911 in most areas.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE, in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers. Later this year, RAINN will launch the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, the web’s first secure hotline service.