King County Sexual Assault Hotline calls up 140 percent over last 24 hours
Calls to King County’s Sexual Assault Resource hotline have shot up 140 percent in the last 24 hours.
Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone says the phone started ringing early the day of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, and continued on throughout the day. Suffice it to say, the timing wasn’t at all coincidental.
“All of the callers or, most of the callers that we got yesterday, were referencing the hearing,” Stone told KIRO Radio.
To provide some context for just how significant the increase in call volume was during the hearings, the hotline averaged a little over five calls a day in 2017. The morning before Dr. Ford’s testimony, they received six calls before 9:30 a.m. alone.
With the nation’s eyes fixed on both Ford and Brett Kavanaugh’s testimonies, the conversation surrounding sexual assault is becoming more and more prominent, with Stone noting how this “shows us again the depth and breadth of sexual assault in our community.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimated that between 1992 and 2000, “the majority of rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated against women and girls in the United States … were not reported to the police.” Stone cites a variety of reasons behind this, pointing out a need from victims to put traumatic events behind them, and wanting to get on with their respective lives.
In the wake of Dr. Ford’s testimony, though, we’re seeing a movement emboldened by more and more women speaking out about their experiences.
“I think there’s a sense of feeling empowered and not alone,” said Stone. “It can push people to say ‘I’m still struggling with what happened to me and I need to do something about it.'”
King County’s Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) offers a variety of services. In 2017, it provided trauma therapy to 408 children, teens, and adults, helped 2,033 people navigate the legal system surrounding assault, and answered 2,098 calls through their 24/7 crisis support hotline.
As a private nonprofit, KCSARC’s funding has been stretched thin following the sudden increase in volume. To give back, head over to their donation page here. Additionally, if you or a loved one are a victim of sexual assault, the crisis support line can be reached at 888-998-VOICE.