“Two years ago I turned to RAINN for help and advice and it made all the difference in my life… I owe my life to RAINN.”
- A 16-year old girl who was raped by her best friend’s brother
When I think of the month of May it brings images of beautiful Spring skies and flowers. During this time of year the weather is generally the most peaceful and inspiring, and conjures some of my favorite memories. There seems to be a nostalgic smell in the air of an entire lifetime of childlike frolicking and feelings of love. Spring is easily my favorite season of all. There are many reasons for my overwhelming enthusiasm towards Spring, one of the most important reasons is Spring’s representation of rebirth. This is a time when Mother Nature is replenishing herself and cultures all over the globe celebrate fertility rites.
During this month of fresh starts and new directions, I would like to pay homage to an amazing organization that has helped millions of women and men take a step toward rebirth. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, known as RAINN, is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization. We have Scott Berkowitz, founder & president of RAINN, to thank for this group that has had a profoundly staggering healing effect on the lives of millions.
“A very close friend of mine has really found a lot of comfort in your organization and speaks so highly of you… The hope you have given my friend is alive in every smile, something I haven’t seen in a while.”
- Friend of a hotline caller
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline helps about 400 victims each day.
- RAINN has been selected as one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth Magazine
- RAINN led prevention and public policy efforts that contributed to a record 50% decline in sexual violence.
- All services are free, confidential, and available 24/7
Since it’s inception in 1994, RAINN has developed enormous celebrity support – among them is co-founder and super star Tori Amos. From the very beginning of her career Tori Amos has made no secret of her personal experience with sexual assault. It is her fearless ability to speak about this horrifying epidemic that has put her on the map as one the worlds leading spokespersons for this crippling act of violence. During an interview Tori was quoted as saying, “Frankly, as a woman, and as a woman who wrote ‘Silent All These Years’ (a song about rape that appeared on 1992’s Little Earthquakes), I needed to stand up,” Amos explained. “It seemed to me that, sometimes, the material wanted to be overtly political. Sometimes the material wanted to be cheeky and seductive. Sometimes it wanted to be heartbreaking and deal with the inner world of women.”
Below is a letter written by Tori to inform people of the service that RAINN offers to anyone who needs it.
For the last two years, I’ve sung “Me and a Gun” at every concert as a way of healing the place inside myself that has been hurt, enraged, and numbed by violence. For many years, I shut down that place inside myself that needed to rage, cry, ask questions, and basically just express herself. I made a conscious choice when I put “Me and a Gun” on the record not to stay a victim anymore. You see, I was still a victim in my own mind from an experience that had happened a long time ago: I was still torturing myself. Passion, joy, and love were not things I felt I could have or deserved anymore. I’ve been encouraged by wise ones, who taught me how to develop inner tools where I can understand these scared places in my being. It took me many years to make the decision to deal with this, but a bitter woman was what I was becoming and when I was young I always saw myself as a passionate woman. I would say, “Well, she’s dead.” And the wise ones said, “It’s your choice, Tori, if you want to bring her back to life, you can. She’s only been sleeping-alone, in a very dark corner. It’s your choice and there is help out there.” I received a letter from a 13-year old girl in Paris whose stepfather has been molesting her for years. She wrote: “If I had known a phone number which would have been able to help me, I certainly would have dialed it. So, we can’t go on being blind and dumb: You don’t have to put the message with the help phone number out now. Maybe you’ll never do it, because of different reasons. You won’t be to blame for it. But, I want you to never forget that every day someone loses their dignity.”
Healing takes courage and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.
Love & Support,
Tori has blessed millions of people worldwide with the courage and strength she portrays through her music. RAINN is just another tool she has developed for helping anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, to help them find that voice inside themselves that has been silenced by fear and senseless shame.
To purchase albums by Tori Amos please visit the iTunes Store at:
For more information regarding Tori Amos and RAINN click on one of the links below:
RAINN was also founded thanks to the generous contributions of Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group, then part of Time Warner. Those music connections helped them build RAINN into a nationally known charity very quickly, despite their tiny budget, and introduced the hotline to millions of Americans.
The vital partners in all of their work have been the nation’s local rape crisis centers. At their launch in 1994, 347 local centers affiliated with RAINN to provide services to victims. Today they have over 1,109 local partners. Not to mention the star studded lineup of support from celebrities in every category of entertainment such as: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Bacon, Rachel Bilson, Kenneth Cole, Sarah McLachlan, R.E.M. & Bertis Downs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim Roth, Mariska Hargitay, Hootie & The Blowfish, Calvin Klein, Steve Madden, Christina Ricci, David Schwimmer, Kevin Smith….to name a few.
Collectively, tens of thousands of volunteers and crisis center staff have teamed up to help callers to the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Every day and night, these dedicated people sit with victims through invasive emergency room exams; they listen to the anguished voices of callers and find a way to provide solace and support; and they coach the families and victims on playing a positive role in the recovery process.
If you would like to become involved as a volunteer or sponsor, there are many different options available. To name just a few:
- Volunteer to work the hotline.
- Become a corporate sponsor.
- Join the Fashion For RAINN Campaign by:
- Donating advertising space.
- Be photographed in an advertisement.
- Host a Fashion For RAINN Exhibition
- Contribute to the production of Fashion For RAINN displays & editorials as a writer, photographer, creative producer, crew member, stylist, marketer, or advertiser.
- Host a charity event.
- Make simple donations through everyday online shopping at http://shop.rainn.org
- Donate your time to local crisis centers.
If you find yourself in a situation where a loved one has been affected by sexual abuse and he/she has come to you for help, you can direct them to the RAINN hotline which is 1-800-656-HOPE or send to them the RAINN website at www.rainn.org
Of course you can also help by simply being a shoulder to lean on. This can be a very heavy burden to bare, but each one of us needs a close friend or family member to lean on from time to time.
“I am forever indebted to RAINN for giving me the strength and courage to move forward in my life.”
-Anonymous hotline caller
“I just want to thank you on behalf of all victims for the work that you are doing. I can’t begin to tell you how much RAINN has helped me. Keep up the wonderful work. You are angels, and I hope God blesses you.”
-Letter from a caller to the National Sexual Assault Hotline