By Dr. Ari Bernstein
I want to let my followers know about RAINN and its new mobile app, which is an amazing tool for sexual assault survivors. While you might thankfully never need such an app, it is good to know such a tool is available if you or one of your loved ones needs help in the future.
Who Is RAINN?
First, let’s cover who RAINN is. Well, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. By calling the organization’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673), callers gain access to a wide range of confidential and free support services. Since the start of the hotline in 1994 — and also with the web resource, online.rainn.org — more than three million people affected by sexual violence have been supported.
Answering a Critical and Urgent Need
The National Sexual Assault Hotline was the nation’s first decentralized hotline, connecting those in need with help in their local communities. Today, this hotline connects those in need with help in their communities through RAINN’s vetted network of independent sexual assault service providers. By dialing a single hotline number, survivors can reach the support they deserve.
New App Provides Support Anytime, Anywhere
While the hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, occasionally, there are times when a caller may need to leave a message and wait for a return call to receive the assistance they seek. However, RAINN’s recently-released mobile app provides survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones with immediate access to support and information to help manage the effects of trauma, as well as vital self-care tools. Users can also access the National Sexual Assault Hotline via phone or online chat.
Even though RAINN’s app was just recently released, Prevention Magazine already lists it as one of the 15 Best Mental Health Apps of 2020. The free app can be downloaded to Apple and Android devices by simply searching for “RAINN” in the App Store or Google Play with a smartphone or tablet.
What to Expect After Downloading the RAINN App
After downloading and installing the RAINN app, you will see several notices regarding the use of the app, including, most notably, a “Safety Notice” section. In this section, you are reminded to keep a few safety tips in mind like:
- Calling 911 if you are in immediate danger, in need of emergency assistance, or considering suicide
- Deleting the app after every use if your abuser has access to your device
- Accessing the National Assault Hotline at online.rainn.org on a different device if you have concerns about your abuser searching your device’s download history
How to Use RAINN’s Mobile App
RAINN’s mobile app is straightforward to use and is broken down into three general sections:
Under the “Hotline” section, you can choose to chat with a support specialist, chat with other survivors in the chat room, or reach the telephone hotline.
Under the “Self-Care” section, you have access to three different types of tools that can be used for self-care to help you relax and keep track of how you are feeling. These tools include:
- A mood tracker to keep track of daily changes in moods
- Audio exercises provided by Headspace for mediation, including calming and de-stressing breathing techniques
- Relaxing visuals provided by The Monday Campaign to help you de-stress
Under the “Learn” section, you have access to informative articles that are categorized according to a topic, such as:
- Understanding Sexual Violence
- Healing from Sexual Violence
- Understanding Consent
- Law Enforcement
- Information for Parents
- Information for Youth
- Survivor Stories
RAINN’s app can be used by anyone, whether you are a sexual abuse survivor or a supportive family member or friend. If this app could be of use to you or a friend or family member, please consider downloading it and using