Top takeaways from Ford-Kavanaugh hearing. Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh riveted Washington and the nation with hours of fiery, emotional testimony. (Sept. 27)
The emotional testimony of Christine Blasey Ford spurred a spike in calls to the National Sexual Assault hotline, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network that runs the hotline.
The number of people who called the hotline was “201% above average” the day she testified, the group said.
Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for nearly four hours on Thursday, outlining a sexual assault she alleged she suffered at the hands of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The California psychology professor went into painstaking detail, accusing the judge of holding her down on a bed at a party in 1982, trying to take off her clothes and putting his hand over her mouth to silence her calls for help.
Ford said she was “terrified” and only came forward after so many years because she felt it was her “civic duty.”
The high number of people reaching out to RAINN continued long after her testimony. The group reported “unprecedented wait times” for online chat services on Friday and Saturday.
RAINN spokeswoman Sara McGovern told CNN that the #MeToo movement overall has triggered “off the charts” demand for the group’s services, which are accessible at 800-656-HOPE or online.rainn.org.
“Our victim service programs went from helping about 15,000 victims per month to helping about 22,000 per month,” she said.
Aside from the Ford testimony, the past week marked another milestone in the #MeToo movement, when Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison for a sexual assault in 2004.
While such high-profile markers may signal steps forward for the movement, they can also trigger painful memories for victims, clinical psychologist Jim Hopper told USA TODAY.
Hopper, a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School who specialized in trauma and writes the Sexual Assault and the Brain blog for Psychology Today, said other daily events can also prompt a resurgence of traumatic memories.
It could be “revisiting the college you went to and walked by frat row, or undergoing cancer treatment and feeling vulnerable as you did when you were a kid who was abused.”
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