Sexual assault hotline reports call increase after Kavanaugh-Ford hearing

LOWER MANHATTAN — National and local sexual assault hotlines have been buzzing with activity, overwhelmed with a response to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday.

“Listen to the women, believe the women” supporters sang and chanted on the Lower Eastside.

Even before the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to advance Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full senate, more than 50 people demonstrated in front of the offices of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand with a very clear message.

“We are doing this as solidarity action across the country with NOW at other people’s Sen. offices,” Jean Bucaria, NYC NOW deputy director told PIX11 News. “Dr. Blasey needs to be believed. Judge Kavanaugh’s credibility has been called into question and they need to vote no.”

Hotlines across the country such as the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network said they were experiencing unprecedented wait times for online chat, a 147 percent increase in the number of calls during Dr. Ford’s testimony.

At Safe Horizon across NYC, the number of calls about sexual assault were up by 150 percent.

And at the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault, many survivors were calling for help.

“The good side is that it has really revealed the complexity of sexual assault cases. I think it has brought out the long term harm, that kind of sexual assault and violence,” said Mary Haviland, the executive director of the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault. “People were surprised that Dr. Ford remembered it 36 years later. It had a fundamental impact on her life.”

For Nastia Gorodilova, a survivor of a college sexual assault five years ago, it was particularly difficult for her to hear Dr. Ford’s testimony and to give support to other survivors calling to to the hotline.

“It unfortunately confirmed for me that my very difficult decision not to report my own sexual assault was maybe the right move,” Gorodilova said. “If this is the way survivors are treated in this country.”