With Ford Testimony Comes Spike in Calls to Rape Crisis Centers

Amidst accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, crisis centers and sexual assault hotlines have seen a surge in calls this week.

"Our numbers have really increased," said Sharon Imperato, a clinician at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

During the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were teenagers, the center received several calls. Whether they can be attributed to Ford's statement is unclear, but Imperato said there is no doubt that the hearing was a significant moment for the #MeToo movement.

"Watching Dr. Ford's face is something I've seen a million times in survivors that we work with," said Imperato. "You could hear the emotion in her voice, you could see her face change. It was tough to watch."

But it is more difficult for Imperato and others to consider that an accused person, such as Kavanaugh, might not face an investigation.

"I don't fully understand why anyone would reject such a truth-seeking process," said attorney Kristen Gibbons Feden.

At just 35 years old, Feden pushed for the charges and trial that recently landed comedian Bill Cosby in prison. Bringing the case prior to the #MeToo movement, Feden said she was committed to uncovering what happened between Cosby and his accuser. She believes Ford deserves a similar process through an investigation by the FBI.

"They're not talking about conviction here. They're talking about confirming a Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who could be on the highest court of the land," explained Feden. "I think it's so important just to get down to the truth, figure out what really happened that night, because that's going to be really important to assess whether he can really be on the highest court of the land."

Regardless of the outcome in Ford's case, Imperato believes her story will help others come forward.

"Survivors are feeling more empowered, and that's the part to focus on," Imperato said. "And so for that, I feel very hopeful."

Sex assault resources are available at the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673. Since it was first created in 1994, the National Sexual Assault Hotline has helped more than two million people, according to its website.

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