More Survivors of Sexual Violence Expected to Come Forward After Senate Hearings

Experts believe the "Me Too" movement and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings are driving forces for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories.

DULUTH, Minn. – The fate of the Supreme Court is hanging in the balance and testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh has sparked a lot of reaction.

The number of calls to crisis hotlines have increased and more survivors of sexual assault are expected to speak out.

Thirty-three percent of Minnesota women will have experienced a rape crime by their mid life, according to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

Experts believe the “Me Too” movement and the Supreme Court confirmation hearings are driving forces for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories.

Dr. Alisa Von Hagel is an associate professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

She says Dr. Ford’s testimony could give courage to many more survivors.

“Something like this that is clearly in the faces of so many people, with all the attention that’s being paid to that; it may be one of those instances or events that sparks a lot of people’s triggers or causes them to come out and just speak out about their own previous sexual assault,” said Von Hagel.

A Duluth organization is working with community members to build respect between men and women and prevent sexual violence from happening.

Men as Peacemakers aims to end violence against women and children.

Survivors of sexual violence are encouraged to do what they feel is best for them.

“I think that this is a time for us really to think  about what it means to actually believe what people say when they say they’ve been harmed,” said Men as Peacemakers Co-Executive Director Ed Heisler. “What it means to think about how to repair what they’re describing and then how we start to address statements like boys will be boys.”

RAINN also known as the Rape Abuse Incest National network is described as the nation’s largest anti–sexual violence organization.

After Thursday’s testimony RAINN’s sex assault hotline saw a 201 percent increase in calls compared with a typical day.

If you are a victim of sexual violence there are many resources in the Twin Ports available to help you like the Center Against Sexual and Domestic abuse (CASDA) in Superior and the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) in Duluth.

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