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Report: Rise in Sexual Abuse Claims After Christine Blasey Ford’s Allegations

Christine Blasey Ford , Brett Kavanaugh
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Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony regarding her allegations that newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school has reportedly led to an increase in sexual abuse claims.

A group that identifies itself as “the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization” said that following Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, its hotline call center saw a record jump in calls from sexual assault survivors.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) said its National Sexual Assault Hotline had a 338 percent increase in traffic between Thursday, September 27 – the day Ford testified regarding her allegations of sexual assault against Brett Kavanaugh – and the following Sunday.

The group noted that Friday, September 28, was its “busiest day in the 24-year history” of the hotline, as more than 3,000 people called in for help:

“History shows us that when high-profile allegations such as these are in the news it often causes others to reach out too,” said RAINN President Scott Berkowitz, adding that Ford’s allegations “clearly resonated with survivors, and has led thousands to reach out for help for the first time.”

“Over this past year, following the cases of Weinstein and Cosby and the explosion of #MeToo, our numbers have been growing pretty rapidly, but we’ve never seen anything like this before,” Berkowitz added.

Following the Senate’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh, RAINN said in a statement that the group is “disappointed in the outcome” but “glad that America got the opportunity to hear Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony.”

Ford’s allegations and the reported rise in sexual abuse claims come as the Trump administration is poised to release new Title IX policies concerning sexual misconduct on campus – policies that recognize the right of due process for those accused of sexual assault.

On October 2, RAINN tweeted NBC News’s “Breaking” story that read, “President Donald Trump mocks Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, during a rally in Mississippi”:

“We have a whole page of tips about how to react when someone tells you that they’ve been sexually assaulted,” RAINN responded. “Spoiler alert: mockery isn’t one of them.”

Appearing as a guest on CBS This Morning, Berkowitz said the record number of callers into the hotline indicated that “there was something about having watched Dr. Ford that they identified with.”

At Northwestern University, associate general counsel Sarah Wake said that since the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, she has observed a significant increase in student reports of past sexual misconduct to the Office of Equity.

“My general impression is that people are coming forward to the Office of Equity and other campus partners to discuss incidents that happened in their past because the testimony inspired them (or) evoked difficult memories,” Wake said, according to the Daily Northwestern.

Though Wake did not provide specific details about the uptick in sexual assault reports, she said Ford’s testimony showed how difficult it can be to report sexual misconduct.

“I absolutely believe Dr. Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee impacted individuals in the Northwestern community,” Wake said. “I am glad that people are coming forward to seek support from campus resources and I hope that this will continue.”

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