How to help survivors of sexual assault

Story highlights

  • CNN Films "The Hunting Ground" looks at sexual violence on college campuses
  • Many organizations work to protect and help victims of rape and violence

(CNN)"The Hunting Ground," a CNN Films documentary, takes a startling look at sexual assault on American college campuses.

If you or someone you know is dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault, there are organizations that can help. Many are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will confidentially listen, answer questions, provide local and legal resources and help determine the next steps for you or someone you love.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) provides the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, 1-800-656- HOPE (4673), which will route you to a local RAINN affiliate organization. You also can reach counselors online. RAINN provides in-depth resources and guides detailing how to reduce your risk, the procedures to report these crimes and the process for healing and recovery. The network has a national database to help find a sexual assault service in your area.
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Love is Respect also offers ways to connect with someone immediately by calling 1-866-331-9474, online chat and an option to talk via text by texting LOVEIS to 22522. The staff is trained on all aspects of abuse in relationships, including emotional, physical and sexual. They also work to educate and empower young people on how to recognize abuse, date safely and form healthy relationships.
    End Rape on Campus (EROC) offers free, direct support for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses. It can be reached at 1-424-777-EROC (3762) and this online form. The EROC website details the specific laws for colleges and also provides resources for supporters and parents looking for ways to help.
    The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) is a national information and resource hub on all issues related to sexual violence and its prevention. It offers publications and an extensive library that can be searched by topic.
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    The Department of Defense Safe Helpline is a sexual assault support service for members of the military community. Confidential help can be reached by phone at 1-877-995-5247 and online through group's chat service and anonymous group chat room. The group also provides a text referral service that will send the details of local resources if you text your ZIP code or installation or base name to 55247. Online resources detail how to reduce your risk, what to do if you are assaulted and the different options available to report sexual assault.
    Reach out to one of these organizations or talk to someone you know. You are not alone.