In the United States, every 2 minutes,
someone reports a rape; one in three females are sexually abused by the time they turn eighteen; and a woman takes her own
life every ninety minutes. Because of the severity of the issues and the trauma the victims and their families face, a group
of volunteers in Kentucky decided to take action and launch a website to provide a place for victims to share their stories
and to raise awareness about these issues.
In early October 2008, the RISE website was launched. RISE stands
for Rape, Incest and Suicide Education. Its founder Ragdoll Mender, (alias names are used to protect the victims) was moved
by experiences of close friends and her own family, and felt there was not enough support available for the victims.
The address of the website is: http://avoiceforheather.tripod.com/. The website name is in honor of founder Ragdoll Mender's
childhood best friend, who was raped repeatedly by her father, and attempted suicide many times as a result. Her story "A
Voice For Heather" can be found on the website, under "True Stories".
"The mission of RISE is to raise awareness
about these tragic epidemics, and to help the people who are going through them. These are heartbreakingly frequent occurrences,
stealing the pride, self-esteem, sanity, life and soul of thousands every year." Said Ragdoll Mender, founder and president.
The facts speak for themselves:
* 60% of rapes are not reported. Those
rapists never spend a day in jail. Only six percent ever will. If a rape is reported, there is only a 50% chance of arrest.
Fifteen of sixteen rapists walk free. Rape is a crime, whether the person committing it is a stranger, a date, an acquaintance,
or a family member.
* EVERY 10 SECONDS a child is reported
being abused, molested, or killed. Many of these victims are eight years old or younger. An estimated 50% of child sexual
offenders are the parents. Children who are raped, especially by a family member, suffer extreem confusion, low self-esteem,
and depression, sometimes throughout the rest of their lives.
* An attempt at suicide is estimated to
be made once every minute. Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life, and 1,500 more attempt to do so. Among
young people aged 10-14 years, the suicide rate has doubled in the last two decades. Victims of sexual assault are four times
more likely to attempt suicide.
"Given that survivors of sexual assault
are four times more likely to commit suicide, we felt it was time to take a stand and give survivors a safe place to share
their story, help break the silence, and help raise awareness." Said Ragdoll.
Besides a safe place for victims to share
their story, the RISE website also provides information to help raise awareness about these critical issues, as well as tools
- Jeanne Bassett -