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Arizona crisis centers report increase in calls after Kavanaugh hearing

Posted at 7:26 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-29 17:40:34-04

While Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation is still undetermined, the whole process leading up to the emotional and tense hearing yesterday has opened up a floodgate.

Crisis centers in Arizona and across the country are reporting a spike in calls this week as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee her allegation of sexual assault committed by Kavanaugh when they were in high school.

RELATED: 10 takeaways from the Ford-Kavanaugh hearing

At the La Frontera crisis center, staff said they have seen double the amount of calls coming into their offices. Similarly, the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence staff said it's been non-stop activity for the last couple of weeks.

"Our phones were ringing off the hook this morning when they opened at 8:30. Some of the things survivors said is they watched the hearing and it inspired them to call," said Tasha Menaker the Chief Strategic Officer for the coalition.

One of the survivors who called the crisis center for the first time is a woman who requested we identify her only by her first name, "Michele."

Michele said the Cosby trial and Kavanaugh hearings had really triggered painful memories she thought she had suppressed.

"I've been crying the whole time, on and off for three weeks now. This is bringing back flashbacks. It makes me feel unsafe at night," said Michele.

Her sexual assault took place 8 years ago, at the hands of a man she really looked up to.

"He was a powerful member of the Arizona State Bar. I admired him when I first met him, his professionalism," said Michele.

One day Michele said he came to her home and forced himself upon her. She describes being terrified, and afraid for her life.

She eventually did take the man to court and was able to win a settlement, and she is finally feeling brave enough to share her story with the world.

"I'm speaking out today hoping that this will help other women come forward," said Michele.

According to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, 600,000 women have reported that they were raped at least once in their lifetime. Figures from the Department of Justice statistics show a person is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds.

Despite those eye-opening numbers, Menaker said Arizona had a long way to go when it came to providing more resources for victims of sexual assault.

"We are strongly advocating that state funding be allocated for sexual violence services in Arizona. $14 million of state funding is set aside for domestic violence services, but there are zero dollars for sexual assault services and no rape crisis centers in Arizona," said Menaker.

She said advocates were hoping to get more funding to provide accessibility of services to those reporting sexual violence. Right now sexual assault victims can get services at family advocacy centers throughout the state.

You can get numbers to all the crisis centers located throughout the state here.  

We also have a breakdown of all family advocacy and crisis centers located throughout the state for you here.