One in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Sixty percent of sexual assaults will not be reported to the police.
“There’s such a hideous stigma attached to it that many people just never ever report it,” says Christina Ricci. “I will never be able to erase what happened to them. But I always focus on trying to make people understand that no matter what they think is going on they do actually need help and counseling. It’s the only way we’ll make a dent in this.”
Ricci has worked with Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network since she was a teenager. “I’ve talked to many survivors. I’ve spoken on campuses. But my main priority is getting people to volunteer their time to help the organization,” she says.
RAINN operates its National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with 1,100 rape centers across the country. When a caller dials in, she is instantly connected to the nearest RAINN member center.
“There are two main symptoms of rape trauma,” explains Ricci. “One is flooding — when people are ready to talk and talk and talk. The other is when people are so numb that they laugh about it. Those are the ones who are the saddest to me. They are harder to convince that they need help.”
After the crime
In November 1996, a stranger grabbed Marnie Goodfriend and put a knife to her throat, forcing her back into her own apartment.
“My roommate and I were raped,” Goodfriend recalls. “I was 22. I had just graduated from New York University. We lost everything that we were. Everything that we had known up until that day.”
Goodfriend’s first contact with RAINN occurred a few months after the rape.
“I’ve used the hotline not once, not twice, but many times,” she says. “It’s there whenever you need it, whether it’s been a few hours after you’ve been raped or if it’s 20 years.
“RAINN has taught me to use my voice to educate the public, to help other survivors find their voice through the RAINN’s Speaker’s Bureau and through my own website.”
Ten years later, the rapist was caught through a positive DNA match. On June 12, 2006, Goodfriend’s rapist was sentenced to 50 years in prison.