Nat. Sexual Assault Hotline spikes 147% during Ford testimony

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National and local sexual assault hotlines have been buzzing with activity, overwhelmed with a response to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday.

"This past weekend, there was a 57 percent uptick in calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline from Friday to Sunday compared to an average Friday to Sunday", RAINN Press Secretary Sara McGovern told CNN.

King says these numbers don't necessarily mean sexual assault is increasing, but more people are comfortable coming forward to share their experiences.

During her emotional testimony, Blasey Ford said she believed she was going to be raped during the alleged assault by Kavanaugh at a party 36 years ago.

"Free, confidential support is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE and RAINN.org".

Advocates say that recognizing a moment such as sexual assault can trigger a time in someone's life that made them feel unsafe or that no one would believe them.

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RAINN also operates the Department of Defense Safe Helpline for members of the military "community who have been affected by sexual assault".

At TurnAround, which supports sexual assault victims in and around Baltimore, CEO Rosalyn Branson said a help line that typically gets two or three calls overnight got 11 on Thursday, specifically citing the Kavanaugh case.

A third accuser, Julie Swetnick, came forward with her story Wednesday. The memory - and specifically, she said, Kavanaugh's laughter during the act - was "locked" in her brain. It's not uncommon for survivors, over time, to be able to move on, build families, redefine themselves and maybe even begin to speak up after their experience as Ford has: But, sexual assault could remain a part of them forever.

"We often see an increase in calls when sexual assault stories are in the news".

According to Mental Health America, sexual assault survivors are at an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and substance abuse habits.

"Hearing about sexual violence in the media and online can be very hard for survivors and their loved ones", RAINN said in a Twitter statement. Thursday and Friday, the group tweeted that their online chat was experiencing "unprecedented" wait times. Before the senate votes to approve or reject Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, it's time to take action. "I think it has brought out the long term harm, that kind of sexual assault and violence", said Mary Haviland, the executive director of the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

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