November 29, 2017 07:47 AM
Celebrities speaking up about sexual assault and harassment is causing a ripple effect. After the #MeToo campaign, rape crisis hotlines across the country are getting a record number of calls.
From movie producer Harvey Weinstein, Journalist Charlie Rose, to politician Al Franken there's been a ton of high profile cases. Since those stories broke, calls to rape hotlines nationwide increased by 21 percent in the month of October. Calls to New York State's Domestic and Sexual Violence hotline are also up 12 percent for the year. Officials are seeing similar trends here at home. Phones at RESTORE, the rape crisis hotline in Rochester are ringing off the hook.
Some people are reaching out about crimes that happened years ago and others more recent. Counselors like Jennalyn Long say the key to getting more people to speak up is making them feel comfortable.
"We validate their feelings a lot, let them know that they aren't alone in this, that were there to help them and that it's not their fault," Long said. "What they went through they did not deserve it at all"
It's always difficult to hear stories of sexual abuse, but at least survivors are gaining the courage to speak up. Christi Waldron, counseling staff supervisor at RESTORE, says it also helps to see high profile abusers being held accountable for their actions.
"I think the best way to get individuals who are effected by sexual abuse or harassment to come forward is to create an environment where people feel safe and people feel like they are believed," Long said.
If you call RESTORE, counselors won't report rape or harassment to the police unless you ask them to do it. RESTORE focuses on offering free counseling services and other resources to help survivors restart and restore their lives.
The hotline is available 24 hours at 585-546-2777 in Monroe County and 1-800-527-1757 in all other counties.
The state hotline is also available 24 hours at 1-800-942-6906.
Created: November 29, 2017 07:47 AM
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