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Both Sarah and Alan offer typical representations of the circumstances that lead one to use RAINN services. The questions following their scenarios should help you use them as a basis for broadening your understanding.


Sarah, 19, lives with her mother in a small, conservative, rural community. Sarah’s father died when she was 16 years old. Sarah’s uncle occasionally visits on holidays. Three months ago, on a recent visit by her uncle, while her mother was out of the house, her uncle told Sarah that he loved her and then threw her down on the couch and raped her. He later told her than she had seduced him, and to never mention what happened. Sarah was terrified, guilty, and didn’t know what to do. Later she was relieved to have her period. At least she wasn’t pregnant. But she became anxious and withdrawn. She wouldn’t go out, except to church with her mother. She had trouble sleeping and was filled with shame and guilt.


Alan, age 34, is a successful young man, married with one child. He is employed as a manager at a grocery store, where he has worked for the past five years. While his life appears stable to others, he lives with great inner turmoil. When Alan was 13, he was gang-raped on the way home from school by three older boys. Out of a sense of deep shame, he has never told anyone, including his parents or, later, his wife, about what happened. He continues to have violent nightmares and horrific dreams of being humiliated. Alan suffers from high blood pressure, headaches, sleeplessness, and anxiety. He is prone to temper outbursts with his family followed by guilt and depression. He sometimes thinks of suicide. One evening when he couldn’t sleep he typed, “Help for Rape Victims” into a search engine. The first link he found was for RAINN.org.

Answer the questions below

  • For what reasons might a person want to use RAINN instead of a more traditional agency?

  • How do you believe people learn about RAINN services? What are the implications for RAINN outreach efforts?

  • What groups might be excluded from using services like RAINN?

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Organization Chart

Review and take notes on the RAINN Organization Chart