RAINN, a nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization that operates a hotline for victims, reported Monday that it received record hotline traffic in the day after Ford’s emotional Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week. Sept. 28 marked the busiest day in the hotline’s 24-year history, with more than 3,000 people calling in and receiving help.
To put that number in perspective, RAINN helped an average of 950 people a day during the month of September.
“History shows us that when high-profile allegations such as these are in the news it often causes others to reach out too. This story has clearly resonated with survivors, and has led thousands to reach out for help for the first time,” RAINN president Scott Berkowitz said in a statement. “Over this past year, following the cases of Weinstein and Cosby and the explosion of #MeToo, our numbers have been growing pretty rapidly, but we’ve never seen anything like this before.”
“We’ve never seen anything like this before”
On Thursday, the day of Ford’s testimony, calls made to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were up 147 percent. Between Thursday and Sunday, RAINN experienced a 338 percent increase in hotline traffic. Given that sexual assaults are routinely under-reported, this surge was significant.
Meanwhile, supporters came out in great numbers, online and at nationwide demonstrations. In solidarity with Ford and other survivors, people used the hashtags #WeBelieveSurvivors, #CancelKavanaugh, and #BelieveChristine on Twitter. At nationwide demonstrations, they wrote “I BELIEVE” on their hands and wore black.
In addition to providing support for survivors through its hotline, RAINN demanded the Senate delay the vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination and reopen his FBI investigation.
Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who was set to confirm Kavanaugh, announced Friday that he would not proceed with his vote unless the FBI conducted an investigation into the allegations. While that investigation has begun, some news reports indicate the Trump administration has restricted the FBI’s ability to interview certain witnesses.
Women confront Sen. Jeff Flake after he says he’ll vote yes to Kavanuagh: “That’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth you’re just going to help that man to power anyway.” pic.twitter.com/T7fSpyT69E
— CNN (@CNN) September 28, 2018
Just prior to his last minute decision, the Arizona senator was confronted by Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher in an elevator. The two sexual assault survivors revealed their stories of abuse and seemingly helped change the senator’s course of action.
If you have experienced sexual assault, you can call the free, confidential National Sexual Assault hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), or access 24-7 help online by visiting hotline.rainn.org.