NewsLocal News


Sexual assault hotlines seeing a spike in calls

Posted at 5:05 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-29 00:23:59-04

A national sexual assault hotline is seeing a spike in calls hours after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, also known as “RAINN”, tweeted that their call volume was up 201% the day Dr. Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh spoke in front of the Senate.

Standing Together to End Sexual Assault offers support for victims of sexual crimes in Santa Barbara County.

Advocates say they are receiving a high volume of calls ever since Kavanaugh’s high profile sexual assault accusations have been circulating in the media.

Phone lines are busy and email boxes are full with sexual assault survivors asking for help.

The Executive Director says the Kavanaugh hearings are bringing up emotions.

“They are reaching out because they feel anger, they feel sadness at what’s going on in Washington,” said Elsa Granados, Executive Director of Standing Together to End Sexual Assault. “It takes them back to the trauma that they endured when they were assaulted.”

Stand Strong, a domestic abuse advocacy group in San Luis Obispo, isn’t seeing an increase in callers but an increase in responders.

“People are really rallying around what they can do and how can they get involved with our agency, so it’s been really promising,” said Vivien Devaney-Frice, Development and Communications Manager of Stand Strong.

One staff member has answered calls from hotlines for five years and shares tips on how to deal with emotions that could be brought up from high-profile sexual assault cases.

“Who’s your go-to person that you feel safe being with and talking with? Can they come over and be with you and what other techniques that have helped them in the past,” added Christina Kaviani, the Associate Director for Stand Strong.

Stand Strong will be training volunteers in January 2019.

Advocates from both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties tell me friends and family members of victims can help, too. The most important tip they say is to listen and support.

San Luis Obispo County Survivor Resources:

Santa Barbara County Survivor Resources:

National Survivor Resources:

  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network): 800.656.4673,
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.4673