Helping sexual assault victims online

RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, launched a new service yeserday to provide support to victims online. Now, instead of just being able to get help through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE), survivors can also reach out to the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at
Scott Berkowitz, president & founder of RAINN, says, “The Online Hotline provides a solution to the dangerous trend of victims getting help online through insecure websites…Many young sexual assault victims are turning to the Internet for help through insecure chat rooms, blogs, and social networking sites. This dangerous trend of victims turning to the Internet for help leaves victims vulnerable to unreliable advice, exposes their identity, and makes their postings available to the world through Google.â€?
See USA Today and abyss2hope for more.

Join the Conversation

  • ProFeministMale

    I understand the idea behind it, and think it’s good that RAINN is embracing technology to help rape survivors. But I’ve also got an issue with it. Berkowitz speaks of women talking about their experiences on the Internet and other focums as if it’s a bad thing. Too often, the lived experiences of rape survivors aren’t brought to the forefront, and their stories aren’t told. Thus, alternative media can serve as a place for survivors to talk about the things that have always been excluded from the media.
    Sure, you see news stories about legal issues pertaining to rape, and statistics, and debates, and the Duke rape trial was beaten to death, but when was the last time you actually saw personal stories of the emotional and physical hell survivors go through?
    When you give voice to a subjugated group, you give it power. Give these survivors some power and let them tell their stories.

  • emrez4985

    I’m not sure I agree with you, Marc. I think what Berkowitz is arguing is that there are so many websites out there that have faulty information or aren’t confidential or secure that leave minors/young adults at risk, since that’s really who this new online hotline is aimed at. In no way is he trying to silence their voices, but it seems to me that he’s trying to assure their safety and provide them with a safe, secure, reliable space to talk with a trained advocate who can refer them to reliable services. He’s certainly not denying them the ability to participate in those other websites/outlets, but, though RAINN, is offering them another service.
    I mean, think of how much junk is on the internet. If you’re not familiar with a topic and just start looking around, you can wind up in some pretty terrible spaces. I just think that Berkowitz would be one of the last people to silence survivors’ voices.

  • Stephanie

    I’m a volunteer counselor for the RAINN hotline, and it is truly an incredible service.
    I am a bit confused though… It definitely wasn’t founded yesterday! I’ve been counseling there for at least a month, and its been around longer than that.

  • Stephanie

    I’m a volunteer counselor with the RAINN hotline, and I have been consistently impressed with the service!
    I am confused though – this definitely was not founded yesterday – – its been around for a while!

  • hk

    Stephanie – RAINN launched the online hotline yesterday ( I just wanted to thank Feministing for posting this information. I’ve wanted to volunteer with RAINN for a while but various circumstances have prevented me. However, volunteering for the online hotline takes away those circumstances. I just submitted a volunteer application!

  • SaraLaffs17

    I used the online hotline a few times last fall. Maybe it’s just me, but I was a hell of a lot more comfortable talking to someone online than on the phone. I like having the option.

  • gst_scholarship18

    Stephanie and HK, the online hotline has been around for months…I have been working on it since last fall. I believe this was the official kick-off, however, as they were waiting to work out some of the details and issues with the technology. But yes, Stephanie, it’s been around a while.

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for the clarification, folks. I meant online hotline – i hope the official kick-off means more people will hear about it!

  • GrimaWormtongue

    I am so very glad to read this. I feel like I’m constantly talking about my rape/abuse but one of my rapists met me in a chatroom where he learned I had been raped before and did everything exactly right to get me to meet him in public and all that and the moment he had me alone, he snaped and raped me.
    It was only after the fact did I realise that he was a pure cold blooded preditor that saw my vunerablity and knew he could use it to press his advantage.
    add that with the shit I’ve read on that catch a preditor website the shit these child abusers/rapests look for is the lonely vunerable abused kid because they can “train” them into being abused.
    And even more so, a personal situation where a friend was taken advantage of by their therapist!!! how twisted is that?!
    I’m so thankful for Rainn. Not just for setting up this hotline, but for the website and past help. I wish we had more help in fighting these preditors.

  • jenwdc

    To clarify just a little… Yes- we have had fantastic volunteers working on the online hotline for awhile now- but not until this week have we been promoting the service which indicates that we are now out of our “pilot phase.” Thanks once again for all the support and we look forward to being of assistance to many more survivors.

  • irishgirl1983

    So, I think RAINN is pretty awesome. But they have this weird stance about sex work being violence against women, that is total bullshit. They were calling the woman who worked with Elliot Spitzer a victim. I mean come on.

  • chubbles

    Thanks for the link. I facilitate a small group discussion of wst students and the past couple of weeks have been on violence against women. I’ll be sure and pass it on to them.

  • Life

    Olympic torch relay enroute from Greece A most important opening phase in the Olympic film was regarded as the filming of the ceremony at ancient Olympia in Greece and then following the Olympic torch through the countries of south-east Asia which it passed.
    Accordingly a four-man photographic team left for Greece on 1st August 1964 in advance of the chartered JAL aircraft which would carry the Olympic torch. In Greece, with the kind cooperation of the National Olympic Committee of Greece and the assistance of the Japanese Embassies in Greece and the other countries through which the relay passed, adequate arrangements for filming were organized and the crew returned to Tokyo on 10th September.
    During the Games themselves, the developing of films was done in the basement of Akasaka Detached Palace and these were screened in a preview room each evening and viewed by the Director-General and others. Plans for the following day were then discussed and instructions issued accordingly. Actual editing was commenced early in November 1964 when an editorial room with a preview room was established at a different location.
    Sixteen members comprising Director-General Ichikawa, members of the Directors Division and Editing Division were divided into eight groups. This staff undertook the demanding task of reducing the 300,000 feet of film, first 100,000 feet and then to the 30,000 feet the length of the film before final editing.
    The screening of the entire footage would take some 72 hours. To run the entire sound recorded tape would have consumed over 240 hours. Actually it took two months to reduce this film to 30,000 feet, and this was almost twice the length of the 16,000 feet in the final plan.