Sexual assault hotline calls spike in Hawaii following Kavanaugh hearing
Since the Kavanaugh hearing on Thursday, the number of calls into the Hawaii's Sex Abuse Treatment Center's 24-hour hotline nearly doubled.
October marks one year since the #MeToo movement went viral. Since then, countless women-- and some men-- have been inspired and empowered to come forward with stories of sexual harassment or assault.
"It's helped. Definitely, I think what we see is that people are now talking about sexual assault," Hawaii's Sex Abuse Treatment Center's executive director, Adriana Ramelli said.
In a year of marches, protests, and empowerment, the simple phrase #MeToo has come to mean so much, to so many. But the spotlight grew more intense when Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by three women. One of those three women, Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. According to Ramelli, it was Ford's emotional testimony that inspired more survivors to speak out.
"For many survivors who watched.. it just triggered their own memories.. their own experience. There was that the victim blaming..that shame.. the feeling that people are still judging those who've been sexually assaulted," Ramelli said.
Ramelli reports that since the Kavanaugh hearing on Thursday, the number of calls into the Hawaii's Sex Abuse Treatment Center's 24-hour hotline nearly doubled.
"We do feel like we've made movement, but I think with everything that's been going on this past week, everyone is feeling pretty disappointed about the National agenda cause it's one of still victim blaming," Ramelli said. "It is triggering people to be angry and rightly so. The attitudes about survivors, the feeling that those attitudes have not changed ... this is why survivors have never come forward to begin with."
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) says since Ford came forward with allegations against Kavanaugh, its hotline has seen nearly a 46% increase in calls compared to this same time last year.
Hawaii's Domestic Violence Action Center weighed in on impact of the #MeToo movement, agreeing that while it's helped encourage conversation, more of it still needs to happen.
"What we haven't spoken about as a community-- or just haven't spoken about enough-- is the sexual assault that is occurring within the context of partner relationships," Kreidman said.
f you are a sexual assault survivor and are seeking support and resources in Hawaii, you can contact the following:
Sex Abuse Treatment Center's (SATC) 24-hour hotline at 524-7273.
Neighbor island 24-hour Hotline:
- Big Island: 808-935-0677
- Maui County: (Toll Free) 866-443-5702
- Kauai: 808-245-4144
You can also call RAINN’s national hotline at (800) 656-4673.