Surge in crisis line calls from Triangle sexual assault survivors since Kavanaugh hearings

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When she swore to tell the truth on Capitol Hill, Christine Blasey Ford created a new national conversation about sexual assault. Nationwide and here in the Triangle, sexual assault survivors were spurred to tell their own stories.

"Yes, we have observed an increase in the number of sexual assault crisis lines call that we've received," said Lauren Schwartz, director of the Solace Center at Interact of Wake County. She said since Ford testified at Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, Interact saw a 19 percent increase of the number of calls into its 24-hour crisis line.

Interact is the county's only provider of domestic violence and sexual assault services.

"The 19 percent increase in calls that we received this time is compared to the same time last year," Schwartz said. "(Stories like Ford's) definitely can be a triggering event for survivors, as well as something that might give strength or the voice they need to tell their story as well."

The Kavanaugh coverage has prompted survivors to come forward who live nearby and others who live much more high-profile lives. The majority leader of the New Jersey State House, 83-year old Loretta Weinberg revealed she was groped and forcibly kissed by a man when she was 13. Shireen Ghorbani, a Utah congressional candidate went public with her sexual assault as an 8-year old. And former President Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, revealed her own rape by a music executive.

The message on the other end of the phone at Interact -- is there's no wrong time for a survivor to come forward.

"We're here to assist survivors within the first hours to days to years after an assault," Schwartz says. "There will be a counselor on the other end of the phone that is ready and willing to talk to you, to provide that support."

The Interact Crisis Line is staffed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The services are free and confidential.

(919) 828-7740 Domestic Violence

(919) 828-3005 Sexual Assault
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