If you were a victim of Sexual Assault while traveling overseas would you want someone to call who could help? According to the US Department of State over 80 million Americans travel abroad each year eager to explore foreign countries. Unfortunately, many become victims of sexual assault. Since the #MeToo movement began, we have experienced a 28% increase in the number of victims who are reaching out, especially vulnerable young American women studying abroad.
Victims of rape are often afraid and ashamed. According to RAINN, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 54% of rapes are not reported to the police. Add the complication of a rape of an American in a foreign country that does not have adequate rape response, a victim is even less likely to seek help. We want American rape victims in foreign countries to know that there is a lifeline for them to call should they become victim of such a tragic act of violence.
American sexual assault victims in foreign countries will have a sexual assault advocate they can communicate with over crisis email. The sexual assault advocate will be able to help them navigate the rape services available in the country they are in, help advocate with service providers on their behalf, connect the rape victim with a counselor and maintain contact as a case manager through the process of victim to survivor.
According to RAINN, 208 thousand rapes occur in the USA annually. If we apply the same population proportion to the 80 million Americans that travel overseas every year, there would be thousands of Americans raped in foreign countries annually. These victims need a confidential, anonymous portal of entry to seek assistance, and long term support as they navigate through complicated international components to overcome the worst experience of their lives.