Hotlines, news tip lines flooded as sexual assault survivors ask 'to be counted'
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee opened wounds of victims and survivors of sexual assault.
The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center's 24-hour resource line is receiving roughly three times the amount of calls since the start of Thursday's hearing.
"We are swamped," said KSARC Executive Director Mary Ellen Stone.
Stone says that calls to the hotline have been from people ages 20 to 70, many of whom have never reported their assault. Many callers are referencing the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing.
"They're saying that now's the time they want to be counted," said Stone.
On the other side of the country, Maine Public reports that calls to their local sexual assault response hotline were up dramatically on Thursday as well, and that "100 percent of the callers referenced the Ford-Kavanaugh hearings."
RAINN, the nation's leading anti-sexual violence group and 24-hour resource hotline, says the number of callers shot up more than 200 percent above average.
During the hearing, people started calling into C-SPAN's news tip line to share their stories of sexual assault. Atlantic writer Emma Green wrote on Twitter that such use of C-SPAN's news-tip line exemplified "an extraordinary cultural moment."
Vox's web culture reporter Aja Romano told KUOW that she believes we're seeing the expansion of the #MeToo conversation around the Kavanaugh hearings because women are "so tired of not being heard."
"That's why you're seeing women call into C-SPAN to share their stories," Romano said. "It's one more way in which the loop has closed to bring #MeToo outside of social media and into the real world."
A producer at St. Louis Public Radio said that they had at least one call from a person who wanted to talk with someone about their sexual assault. At least one person called KUOW to share their sexual assault story, too.
We fielded over six dozen responses to the question "How are you feeling after listening to the Kavanaugh hearing?" across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Reactions were largely those of sadness, anger, and frustration. One person responded to a KUOW Instagram story saying that they were "stoned on a dock" after the hearing.
The New York Times Opinion section created a poll on Twitter during Ford's testimony that solicited responses as to whether people found her story to be credible. The poll was eventually deleted, and the Times issued a statement: "In retrospect, a Twitter poll is insensitive in light of the gravity of this hearing."
Meanwhile, actress and Instagram star Busy Philipps took to the platform to say that she was raped at age 14.
"This is me at 14. The age I was raped," Philipps wrote. "It's taken me 25 years to say those words."
She did not name the person who raped her.
But Candace Faber of Seattle did. Twenty minutes after the hearing concluded, Faber tweeted that Washington state Sen. Joe Fain, a moderate Republican from Auburn, had raped her when she and Fain were in their mid-20s. Reporter Sydney Brownstone had the detailed account from Faber by the end of the day.
Sen. Fain, like Brett Kavanaugh, denies the allegations.
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