September 28, 2018
By Abby Gardner
On Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford spent hours in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee—and the nation—recounting and reliving her alleged assault at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She says she was just 15 when Kavanaugh held her down, tried to remove her clothes, and put his hand over her mouth. (He categorically denies that this ever happened.)
Watching Ford’s pain and hearing her story was no doubt especially hard for survivors of sexual assault. Reading Twitter was evidence of that. But many also turned to the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), the anti-sexual-violence organization that runs the hotline, estimated that their call volume went up 147 percent during the testimony. Wait times for their online chat were also longer than normal.
The organization says this is not uncommon when sexual assault hits the news. Per Time, when the Access Hollywood tape of President Donald Trump was released in 2016—in which he bragged about “grabbing women by the p-ssy”—calls went up 33 percent. Since Ford first came forward, the organization has received 45.6 percent more calls then they did in the same time period last year. When news broke of the second Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, calls spiked 57 percent.
Female members of the Senate Judiciary Committee seemed to understand what yesterday’s hearings (and the days surrounding it) could mean to survivors. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) tweeted, “Right now, many survivors of sexual assault are reliving trauma. If you’re a survivor, know that you are not alone. If you need to talk, you can call 800-656-HOPE to reach a national, confidential helpline 24/7.”
And Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wrote, “After Dr. Blasey Ford came forward, reports of sexual assault increased 57%. This may be a very hard time for survivors, so please reach out if you need help. One option is the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-4673.”
We second their sentiments wholeheartedly. If you need help or just someone to talk to, here are some resources to use:
As stated, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or log on to the online chat here.
There’s also Crisis Text Online. Text HOME to 741741 in the U.S. to be connected with a trained counselor seven days a week.
Men who are sexual assault survivors are often left out of the conversation due to social stigma around male sexual abuse. Visit 1in6.org to be connected to online support groups.
Students can also call 424.777.EROC to be connected with help at End Rape On Campus.
Of course, there are a ton of free therapy apps (accessible in your favorite app stores) to download if you are feeling triggered by the current news cycle. Above all, if you are feeling attacked or vulnerable, there’s no shame in taking a break from the news. Your mental and physical health is paramount.
For more information on RAINN’s services, click here.