Calls to Chicago rape crisis hotline surge during Kavanaugh hearings

CHICAGO — Calls to rape crisis hotlines surged this week as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they both were in high school. He denied all accusations.

On Thursday, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network reported a 200-percent increase in calls to the national sexual assault hotline. Locally, calls tripled at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, which operates a 24/7 rape crisis hotline.

"It is very triggering," case manager Jacqueline Lara said. "She was very detailed in her description of what happened, and that resonates. For some of us, the details are very similar."

Lara is a survivor of sexual violence. She said many survivors are reliving their own stories.

"I think the biggest part is seeing the way the reactions happen when a survivors comes forward," Lara said. "The negative comments. The, 'Why did she wait so long?' The, 'Well, he has an impeccable record, he couldn’t possibly.' Just the confusion around this topic. They’re hearing it. They're receiving those messages."

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is always looking for volunteers to answer calls at its Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline, 1-888-293-2080.