Cleveland Rape Crisis Center launches new ways to report rape and sexual abuse

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center launches new ways to report rape and sexual abuse

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is making it more accessible for sexual assault victims to report their abuse and start a path to healing.

It's called the Text/Chat Crisis and Support Hotline and it's the first of a kind in Ohio.

It means survivors of rape and sexual abuse can chat with counselors anonymously online or by sending a text message. It will compliment the traditional phone hot line, which has been in place for more than 4 decades.

Here's how it works:

"You simply send a text message to 216-619-6192 and a compassionate advocate on the other end will respond. The advocate's job is to listen and since our services are confidential and anonymous, we don't ask for any identifying information. So it's also a really safe way for somebody to try us out," said President & CEO, Sondra Miller.

Counselors launched the support hotline less than a week ago but the texts and chats have been coming in.

"We were surprised at how many users we had from local people with 216 and 440 area codes. We also had people from far away as Nevada and California," said Miller.

In the state of Ohio, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men experience rape in their lifetime. Miller says 2/3's of those rapes are never reported to formal authorities.  Many victims suffer in silence.

"Most survivors of rape and sexual abuse never tell anyone. So we know there are tens of thousands of people who live in our community, in our region who have survived this but never reached out for help and that's really what we're trying to do is make it really easy and safe for someone to say hey, I need a helping hand," said Miller.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For more information about services, click here or call 216-619-6192.

Follow Cleveland 19 News:  

Download the Cleveland 19 News app

Copyright 2016 WOIO. All rights reserved.