Christina Ricci Takes to Capitol Hill for Sexual Assault Victims

By Lindsey Ellerson

Sep 9, 2009 2:06pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With the Capitol consumed by talk of health care reform, there’s some Hollywood star power making the rounds today on an issue that’s relevant to the debate, though not front and center: services for sexual assault victims. Actress Christina Ricci spoke with us today on ABCNews.com’s “Top Line” about her work as national spokesman for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. She’s urging members of Congress to support increased funding for the national sexual assault hotline, which provides counseling to victims of rape and sexual abuse through a network of local affiliates. Many of those state and local partners have seen their funding cut in recent months. Such services are particularly important to those who don’t have health insurance, Ricci said. “That’s the thing: This has a lot to do with health care because, you know, people without health care can go to . . . these publicly funded services, these social services, and get the help that they need, the medical help that they need,” she said. “And if you cut all the funding to them you’re adding just even more stress to the whole health care [system]. I mean, this is really a health care issue. . . . People who are raped tend to are twice as likely to suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, suicide.” Ricci said she got more involved in the cause as an offshoot of her work on the 2006 film “Black Snake Moan,” where she plays the victim of severe sexual and physical abuse. “I actually did know quite a bit about it, so when I read that screen play I recognized what the character was suffering from,” she said. “And rape trauma syndrome to so many people is so confusing because they don’t really understand the psychology that goes behind what happens to somebody once they’ve been raped and left to deal with this violent crime the rest of their life, without treatment.” Click HERE to see the interview with Christina Ricci. We also spoke with Ana Marie Cox of Air America about what President Obama needs to accomplish in his speech to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. With the president unlikely to further clarify his position on the public option, she said, “I have to say that this is one of the most frustrating moments I’ve had with the administration. . . . I just wonder, I mean — I wish that he’d given us a plan earlier.” Click HERE to see the discussion with Ana Marie Cox. David Chalian and I will be anchoring live coverage of tonight’s address, plus the Republican response, on ABC NewsNOW starting at 8 pm ET. You can watch live online at ABCNews.com. And I’ll be blogging via Twitter, @thenote.

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