Friday 30 September 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

RAINN (the Rape And Incest National Network) was co-founded by Tori and Atlantic Records in June 1994. It’s a toll-free telephone hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) to help victims of rape and sexual abuse as well as their relatives. Completely anonymous, it allows people to seek help and ask for advice, whether it’s personal, medical or legal.

“What RAINN really is, it’s a group of people that make sure that the phone line is running," Tori explained to David Byrne at Live Sessions at West 54th in 1998. "It’s a 1-800 number [...] and RAINN picks up the bills that people when they call, from anywhere in America to a rape crisis center. Rape crisis centers can’t afford to collect calls. You know, they’re just funded and they have to take care of their bills. [...] it works out of a D.C. rape crisis center. That’s where the heart of RAINN is. Part of the D.C. rape crisis center is RAINN now.”

At the time Tori gave this interview, RAINN had collected over 225 000, calls since its launching in 1994. In 2011, the hotline has reached over 1, 500, 000 calls and has become America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. In 2006, an Online Hotline was launched (online.rainn.org) and the DoD Safe Helpline was created in 2011 for members of the U.S. military.

Tori, who wrote "Me and a Gun" in 1991, a song about her own rape, was inspired to co-found RAINN after a 14-year-old girl collapsed at one of her shows and was brought backstage. She explained that she was raped by her step-father every day and asked Tori to join her crew on tour to avoid coming back to her home. Tori couln’t do anything as the girl was a minor and that taking her on the bus with her would have had her arrested for kidnapping charges, but she decided she had to do something to help the hundreds of women and teenagers who came to see her before the shows to tell her about their traumatic experiences.

She promoted RAINN at great lenghts over the years, whether by organizing a charity concert, running online auctions or selling a calendar featuring paintings inspired by her music. And of course, she talked a lot about it in interviews, addressed letters and speeches to the victims and greatly contributed to raise public attention about this taboo subject.

In this section, you’ll find a comprehensive history of RAINN’s funding and Tori’s personal involvement in it, as well as interview tidbits and all kind of informations.

To learn more about RAINN, you can also check their official website : http://rainn.org.