Rape Victims Turn to Internet for Counseling

A Florida teen recently made a YouTube video to share the story of her attack.

ByABC News
May 16, 2008, 3:51 PM

May 19, 2008 — -- For an increasing number of young women, the Internet has become not only a place to exchange e-mails with friends or navigate social networking sites but also a destination to share their most intimate secrets: their stories of rape.

With just a few clicks of a mouse, Web surfers can find a Florida teen detailing her rape on YouTube, sobbing and pleading for help and answers after the state dropped her case against the 23-year-old man who she says forced her to have sex with him.

"I need some help, I didn't want to do it this way but it's the only way I know it's going to work, and that someone out there in the world is going to listen to me," said the self-identified 16- year-old Crystal, who sits perched on the edge of her childhood bed as she tapes herself crying hysterically.

"He took advantage of me and drugged me and raped me,"' said Crystal, adding that she's "so messed up" she no longer attends school.

"And I told him to stop, I told him to stop," she pleads into the camera, never revealing her last name.

Crystal's story is not uncommon; there are several other teens and young adults who are turning to YouTube, MySpace and Facebook to talk about their assaults.

"About half the victims of rape are under 18, and that is a generation that is doing practically everything online," said Scott Berkowitz, the president and founder of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization. "We found that younger victims were overwhelmingly saying they have a hard time talking about [rape] -- even to their best friends.

"Online is where they want to do it," Berkowitz said. "It's the format they're most comfortable communicating in."

RAINN estimates an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes and half of them are under the age of 18. Data also shows that only one in four women under the age of 25 will report her assault.

Those alarming statistics have pushed RAINN to do whatever it can to reach the youngest victims, even if it means becoming technologically savvy and logging online.