Calls to sexual assault hotline spike after Ford's testimony

On Thursday, Christine Blasey Ford delivered a powerful testimony that captivated the country, publicly accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault.

Calls at The Safe Center, a nonprofit that helps victims of family violence and sexual assault, poured in from people who were being painfully reminded of their own trauma.

Keith Scott, director of education for The Safe Center in Bethpage, Long Island, said the domestic violence and sexual abuse hotline has seen a doubling in calls in the past 24 hours.

"We've had people disclose they had been raped years ago and seeing Dr. Ford on TV, they actually mentioned the testimony, evoked responses within them to say, 'I want to talk about this too, I want to get help too,'" Scott said.

A spike in calls was seen following the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby cases but the response during and after Ford's testimony was even more apparent.

Experts say since the inception of the #MeToo movement, victims are getting more courage to speak out. Many times, they call the hotline to share feelings of frustration and confusion.

"People come forward many, many years later, especially when they're assaulted when they're 12, 15, 17 years old," Scott said. "It's hard enough being a teenager. You add sexual assault onto that and no one wants to talk about that and people are ashamed when that happens usually."

Counselors say survivors typically don't come forward immediately after assaults happen. In fact, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63 percent of sexual assaults never get reported in the first place.

"When someone comes forward, it's years after getting therapy, after getting help, after talking about this, after reporting it to other people, not only the police," Scott said. "This happens time and time again."

The Safe Center | 15 Grumman Road West, Suite 1000, Bethpage, NY 11714 | 516-542-0404 |