Sexual Assault Center Reacts To Kavanaugh Hearing Impacts

Posted at 5:33 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 19:45:06-04

The implications from Thursday's hearing go far beyond who will end up filling the Supreme Court seat.

In the same week sexual assault survivors and advocates rejoiced in seeing Bill Cosby sentenced to prison time for sexual assault, they now worry about the outcome of the Senate hearing for Brett Kavanaugh.

The Sexual Assault Center in Nashville said it has been weighing heavy on the office.

"It's just very solemn because it's a big day," Sexual Assault Center president Rachel Freeman said. "t's a hard, heavy day that's full of a lot emotions."

Thursday morning, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gave powerful, emotional testimony detailing the alleged sexual assault she said she suffered at the hands of Brett Kavanaugh.

He has denied the claims.

It's testimony that can bring up deep emotional trauma for survivors.

Freeman said as a result of such public cases, they see more calls for help.

"It can be very difficult to hear another trauma survivor's story of assault," Freeman said. "It's almost impossible for it not to remind you of something that you experienced that might be similar to that."

The greater concern is what the hearing and the results mean for survivors. Freeman fears it means more survivors may stay silent.

"That it is very common that people don't report right away, if ever," Freeman said. "I think it's very common that people don't share these stories for fear of not being believed or supported."

While the day is full of emotion and unease, Freeman said it does bring an opportunity for parents to have important conversation with their kids.

"If we are able to sit down and talk with you children and teenagers and see what they see -- what are their feelings about this? What are their perceptions?" Freeman said. "Then, move that conversation into what does a healthy relationship look like?"

If you've been a victim of sexual assault, there is help. Contact the Sexual Assault Center Crisis and Support Line at 800-879-1999.