Even with the strides made in making the public aware of how widespread sexual abuse is, many survivors still feel they're alone. Some are still being victimized and believe there is no way out. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) exists to help people in this situation.
RAINN was founded in 1994 and has grown to be America's largest anti-sexual assault organization providing help for rape and incest survivors. One of the founding members is musician Tori Amos who survived rape and shared a glimpse of her experience in her song Me and a Gun. She helped put RAINN in the limelight and it still has celebrity spokespeople helping to the get the message out.
Besides the hotlines mentioned below, part of RAINN's mission is to educate the public about rape and abuse in order to prevent it from happening as much as possible. Their website also has information about the effects of abuse and how to get help as well as advice for the loved ones of victims.
RAINN operates free confidential help through the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you call the number, your call is directed to the nearest available rape crisis center. The hotline number is 1-800-656-HOPE.
If you're uncomfortable making a phone call, RAINN offers the option to use their online hotline (linked here). At the site, you can choose to take a tour that will guide you through the steps to get to the main areas of the hotline which are the terms of service page, the waiting room, the chat area, and the feedback page.
The last section is the computer safety page where you will be given info on how RAINN is protecting your privacy as well as how to remove traces of your conversation from the computer if that is a concern. You can also skip the tour and go straight to live help where you will begin the steps mentioned.
The hotlines staff members will help you through whatever stage you're at in the recovery process including reporting the crime to law enforcement. The website also has a directory of crisis centers around the country if you would prefer calling or going directly to a shelter immediately, but the hotline staff is able to direct you to a local shelter as well.
RAINN is supported by federal funding and donations from individuals and corporate partners. If you're interested in helping in this important work, then consider volunteering for one of the hotlines by visiting their volunteer page.