Advocacy groups see increase in calls reporting sexual assault after Kavanaugh hearing

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- National advocacy groups are reporting a major spike in calls reporting sexual assault following hours of emotional testimony by Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Thursday.

Catherine Johnson, director of the Guilford County Family Justice Center, said it's an increase her staff has also noticed locally.

“We have seen that there are more people coming forward, sharing experiences, past experiences maybe in younger childhood or experiences in young adulthood coming forward to talk about those experiences,” she said. “So many of the survivors that I’ve talked with talk about feeling fear, or anxiety, or really being reminded of their own experiences."

Johnson said the confirmation hearings can act as a trigger for survivors of sexual assault, adding that some of the language used can be difficult for them to hear.

"The victim blaming and the language that’s often used in this accusation-type language that you hear can be really violating to someone who’s had that experience,” she said.

Monika Johnson-Hostler, the executive director of NC Coalititon Against Sexual Assault, said Friday that she's concerned about how young adults and teenagers will be affected by the proceedings as well.

“My concern is we have people saying ‘boys will be boys’ and 'he was a teenager and it’s been 30 plus years ago,' and almost dismissive of the act that absolutely violated Ford, and as she mentioned in her testimony the long-term impact,” she said.

Meredith Hooks, an adult victim advocacy coordinator with the Family Justice Center, said staff are ready to help provide resources like counseling and connecting people with other survivors.

"When they come here, they will be believed and our job is to believe the client and go from there,” she said.

You can reach the Family Justice Center for help at (336) 641-SAFE (7233).

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