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Experts say sexual assault calls spike following senate hearing

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN, reported a 201% uptick in calls to their National Sexual Assault hotline over the past few days. Some experts are attributing this rise to the Supreme Court hearings that took place in Washington D.C.

Posted: Sep 28, 2018 4:46 PM
Updated: Sep 28, 2018 5:23 PM

WAAY 31 talked with advocates based in the Tennessee Valley about why calls into sexual assault help centers are on the rise right now.

Crisis Services of Northern Alabama is affiliated with the RAINN network. Local calls for help involving issues like domestic violence, sexual assault and suicidal thoughts can end up there.

Adde Waggoner is the Sexual Assault Prevent Coordinator at Crisis Services. She said she sees a spike in calls whenever sexual assault allegations are brought forward on a public stage, like in the case of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

"They see someone on the news that's bringing their story to attention, and they feel like now may be the time they can talk about their story as well," Waggoner said. "There's almost a paradigm shift where so many people are realizing their trauma and feeling confident and comfortable enough to come out, so we are seeing these numbers spike."

She said some victims feel more comfortable to speak while others are reliving their experiences.

"They've been re-victimized by seeing this in the news, so they are reaching out more for help," Waggoner said. "I would imagine those numbers are going to stay pretty high. They may not stay to that 200 percent increase level, but they will stay up."

Crisis Services of Northern Alabama doesn't know yet if its particular calls have risen, but they will get their report after this month.

To contact the Crisis Services of Northern Alabama Helpline, call 256-716-1000.

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