Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday that survivors of sexual assault can now text Michigan’s sexual assault hotline in addition to calling it.
The addition expands the 855-VOICES4 hotline, which offers free, confidential, around-the-clock access to support for sexual assault survivors, as well as their family members and friends. The hotline is aimed at supporting survivors who may not have access to direct sexual assault services.
“This texting feature is an important way to make sure every survivor in Michigan has direct access to the support and resources they deserve,” Whitmer said in a statement.
One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In 80 percent of rape cases, the victim knew the perpetrator.
The hotline, which was launched in 2018, helps to ensure that the 40 percent of Michigan residents without access to direct support have somewhere to turn, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“The hotline and new texting feature give sexual assault survivors more options when it comes to where, when and how they reach out for help,” said Debi Cain, executive director of the Division of Victim Services within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement. “Now more than ever before, survivors in Michigan have direct access to the support and resources they need for immediate help and long-term healing.”
Whitmer announced the addition of a texting option to the hotline at the fifth annual “Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault” summit at Eastern Michigan University. She was the keynote speaker for the event, which was first organized by former Michigan First Lady Sue Snyder.
“I want every survivor in our state to know that your voice and your story matter, and when you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to listen,” Whitmer said in a statement.
To access the hotline, call 855-VOICES4 or text 1-866-238-1454 for immediate support from trained professionals. Learn more about sexual assault services provided in Michigan here.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]