(from our friends at RAINN)
Last week, in a case that shocked the nation and brought great awareness to the sexual abuse of children, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 charges of sexually abusing children. During the trial, usage of the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline rose by 33%; this followed a 50% increase when the scandal first broke last November.
RAINN’s hotline director, Jennifer Marsh, said, “We’re seeing an outpouring of people reaching out for help — women and men, boys and girls — many of whom have been encouraged to get help for the first time as a result of this tragedy.”
Leading up to and during the trial, RAINN’s staff worked closely with national media to educate them about child sexual abuse and ensure that media coverage accurately portrayed the nature of the crime and its effect on victims.
Praising the jury’s verdict and the courage of the survivors who came forward to report Sandusky’s crimes, RAINN’s president and founder Scott Berkowitz told Reuters: “Today is a landmark day for survivors of sexual violence across the nation. This verdict shows the country that when allegations of such abuse are brought to light, they will be taken seriously and that a just outcome is possible. If something positive can come out of this, it is that the strength of the survivors who testified has already encouraged thousands of survivors nationwide to take the first steps towards recovery through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org), creating record demand for the hotline’s services. We are hopeful that this case will continue to motivate other survivors to come forward and will encourage more prosecutors to vigorously pursue cases of sexual violence.”