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Tori Amos's Hope Hotline
By Marianne Schnall. This article originally appeared in the "Cause Celeb" section of In Style Magazine, July 1996.

Through her RAINN network, this soulful pop singer helps rape victims find a path to healing

When singer Tori Amos wrote the song "Me and A Gun" (from her breakthrough album, Little Earthquakes), she was trying to come to terms withh a personal experience that had occurred in her life a few years earlier - being raped. What Amos did not anticipate, however, was the profound effect the song would have on its listeners, a number of whom turned out to be victims of sexual assault themselves."I got so many letters from young women. And then on the tour, on the way out the door, in every single town, all these young girls - they would pass me a letter, whisper a story - tears running down their faces," she recalls.

Knowing that she didn't have the training to help these women herself, she sought out the guidance of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center in Washington. Together they came up with the idea of a national hotline, and Amos convinced her record company, Atlantic Records, and the Warner Music Group to provide the initial funding for the project. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) operates a nation-wide, toll-free hotline (800-656-HOPE) that automatically connects callers to the rape crisis center nearest to them. Now victims of sexual assault can reach a trained rape crisis counselor from anywhere in the country and receive free, confidential counseling 24 hours a day and approximately 50,000 calls come through the hotline every year.

As Amos herself knows, reaching out for help is the first step in recovery. "A lot of times you shut your whole heart off from your experience; you close the door, and you wither and die,"she says. "My hope is that the telephone line can be a bridge to the next step." - Marianne Schnall

For more information: RAINN, 252 10th Street N.E., Washington DC 20002; 202-544-1034, www.rainn.org

Photos: On a break from her Boys For Pele tour, Tori Amos stopped by the D.C. Rape Crisis Center to lend a hand to volunteers (from left) Eli Kimaro, Jen Cromwell and Maria Chavez.

©Marianne Schnall. No portion of this article may be reprinted without permission of Marianne Schnall . This article originally appeared in In Style Magazine.

Marianne Schnall is a a free-lance writer and co-founder of the web sites EcoMall.com and Feminist.com.

More interviews by Marianne Schnall



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