According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), the National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a 201 percent spike in calls during Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate hearing last Thursday.
The hotline is confidential and anonymous so we do not know the details of the calls, but local advocates say they are here for anyone in the community who seeks help after an assault or rape.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline also noticed an uptick in calls the weekend before Dr. Christine Blasey Ford even took the stand – there was 57 percent more calls than normal.
According to RAINN for every 1,000 rapes 994 of the perpetrators will not go to jail or prison.
Samantha Bouressa with Family Services Sexual Assault Center says questioning the victim can stop them from coming forward.
“Maybe they told someone and that person asked them why did you do that, maybe why were you drinking or you knew he was that type of person,” says Bouressa. “There’s a lot of blame and maybe the people that are saying those comments don’t even realize what they’re saying could be actually blaming the victim.”
Last year the Family Services non-profit which serves 4 counties served 1,500 people.
The numbers aren’t in for this year, but Bouressa knows they’ve seen more people reach out for help than last year.
Bouressa says Dr. Ford’s public testimony carries some pros and cons.
“The good thing is that people are talking about it and reducing that stigma and people feel safer coming forward,” she says. “On the other hand, survivors are having to relive their own drama over and over again every time they do turn on the news. And just because maybe they feel safer talking about it doesn’t mean that they’re ready to come forward now.”
Nevertheless there is help.
And the extent of that help is completely dependent on what the victim wants to do.
“If they do decide they want to report as long as it’s an adult, we’re not going to make anybody report if they don’t want to,” says Bouressa. “But if they do decide to report we have to go with them to the police station and we can actually be with them every step of the way throughout the court process.”
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is open 24/7.
You can reach them at 800-656-HOPE.
Other resources in our community include:
Sexual Assault Center of Family Services: (920) 436-8899.
Sexual Assault Crisis Center Fox Cities: (920) 733-8119.
Incourage: The Manitowoc County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Resource Center:
300 E Reed Ave, MANITOWOC,WI, 54220.
ASTOP: Serving Fond du Lac, Green Lake, and Waushara : 920.926.5395
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault: (608) 257-1516.