Rape Crisis Center Calls Surge Amid Sex Misconduct Stories

Managers of crisis hotlines say the barrage of news implicating men like producer Harvey Weinstein in some of the most powerful positions in Hollywood, politics and the media is prompting women from all walks of life to speak out about their own traumatic experiences with sexual assault, many for the first time. Many of the nation’s 1,300 centers are scrambling for funding, new staff members and volunteers to meet the demand.

Calls to rape crisis centers are surging around the U.S. amid an unprecedented public outpouring of survivors’ stories about sexual misconduct, the Washington Post reports.

Managers of crisis hotlines say the barrage of news implicating men in some of the most powerful positions in Hollywood, politics and the media is prompting women from all walks of life to speak out about their own traumatic experiences with sexual assault, many for the first time.

Advocates for sexual violence prevention see the national conversation as a hopeful moment that could bring lasting change. It is a challenging one in the short term, with a spike in demand that is straining the resources of 1,300 rape-crisis centers that provide free, anonymous, round-the-clock counseling and other support services.

Many centers are scrambling for funding, new staff members and volunteers to meet the demand.

“The good news is we were able to help a record number of people last month,” said Scott Berkowitz of the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), a national hotline. “The bad news is that there are even more that came to us and left before we could reach them because our wait times were too high.”

He said it’s typical to see an uptick in calls when there is a big news story or a scandal, but the past year has brought two significant and sustained increases in demand for counseling and support.

The first was the video of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump bragging to an “Access Hollywood”host about groping women.” The second was the report of sexual harassment allegations over decades against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and a #MeToo Twitter campaign with many people sharing their own stories of sexual harassment or violence. The network responded to 19,432 survivors in October, a 10 percent increase in a month.

from https://thecrimereport.org