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Survivors Of Sexual Assault Reaching Out For Help In Wake Of Blasey Ford Testimony

Screenshot via CSPAN

For victims and survivors of sexual assault, the ongoing coverage of the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh can be especially difficult to watch.

Credit WASAC Facebook

The Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center (WASAC) says it’s seen an increase in calls this week to its 24-hour crisis line – some of it in response to Thursday’s testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who alleges Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school.

“This kind of information may trigger feelings and emotions that survivors of sexual violence have had,” says Kathy Williams, executive director of WASAC, “and bring the trauma up to the forefront again.”

WASAC can’t provide exact numbers, but the anti-sexual violence group RAINN says calls to its National Sexual Assault Hotline spiked 147 percent on Thursday.

Williams says anyone experiencing trauma should talk to someone, like a trusted friend or family member, or a counselor at the center. In addition to its hotline, the WASAC also offers support groups and short-term therapy.

“Talking through what has happened or what they’re feeling is very important to healing,” she says.

Williams says sexual assault needs to be talked about more — particularly its “enormous” impact on our culture.

“Anytime we can bring this message to the forefront it is very very important. We have for so many years not spoken about sexual violence, even though we knew it existed. Now we’re beginning to have the conversations.

"It’s 2018. We have to be talking about this," she says. "We have to be talking about this in a thoughtful way, and in a compassionate way.”

Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center hotline: (316) 263-3002 or toll free 1-877-927-2248

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.