DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearing before the Senate Judicial Committee Thursday is apparently having an impact in North Texas.
The Genesis Women’s Shelter reported an increase in calls relating to sexual assault. It did not say how many calls it got but released the following statement:
“At Genesis Women’s Shelter, we have noticed an increase in calls today – both in the number of calls, and those specifically relating to sexual assault. Typically, we see a big event happen in society that raises awareness and creates a dialogue, but then it fades to the background again. In order to make a real change and eradicate violence against women, we need continued accountability. Genesis exists to provide safety, shelter and support for women who have experienced domestic violence, so if you or someone you know needs help, call our 24-hour hotline at 214-946-HELP.”
Dr. Katrina Cook, a clinical psychologist for the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center who has worked with hundreds of victims of sexual assault, said she’s not surprised Ford waited until now to share her story.
“The vast majority of teenagers are not going to report and that’s so understandable,” she said. “It’s a really private thing that you don’t want to talk about. It’s something that somebody has maybe deliberately manipulated you to not want to talk about.”
She said not reporting can cause long-term harm.
“You can see people just not be able to function, to not be able to hold a job, to have big feelings all the time that they can’t control, to have thoughts about hurting themselves even,” Cook said.
While Kavanaugh denies the allegations Ford is making, Dr. Cook said just listening to what the two had to say in the hearing could cause victims of sexual assault to relive trauma.
If this is the case, she advises reporting it if you haven’t already then seek resources.
“The more that you push it down or the more that you leave it unaddressed there’s just more opportunity for hurt to happen and to continue living in a hurtful spot,” she said.
Psychologists say underage victims of sexual assault should go to a trusted adult who can report for them. An adult should go to the police.
There are multiple resources in North Texas for victims of sexual assault:
National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673)
Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC)
24 hour hotline at 972-641-7273
Turning Point Rape Crisis Center