Crisis Center sees increase in calls from sexual assault and harassment victims


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Crisis Center in Birmingham is seeing an increase in calls since the recent sexual assault allegations against celebrities and politicians.

Calls to the Crisis Center are up and the people who run it tell CBS42, it’s not a coincidence. The center provides a 24-hour hotline for victims of sexual assault and harassment.

The center has accepted more calls from people who have been triggered by what they’re seeing on the news and want to talk about what happened to them years ago.

The web of sexual assault scandals continues to grow with the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Roy Moore and many more.

As more accusers step forward, it’s important for the Crisis Center to provide a safe space for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

“Of the people that we see here, about 80-percent of the people that come in know the person that hurt them,” said Rhiannon Reese, a rape response coordinator with the Crisis Center. “So, that means likely this person is a part of their support system, part of their community, and a lot of people don’t come forward because they don’t think that other people in their support system who know the perpetrator are going to believe them.”

The center receives about 1,000 calls a year and provides about 375 sexual assault exams, also called SANE exams.

The Girl Scouts of America is stepping up to give its advice in light of all of the recent allegations against public figures.

In a blog post, the organization is warning parents not to force your kids to hug relatives and family friends during the holidays, saying it could cause confusion down the line about consent.

What do you think? Join the discussion over on the CBS42 Facebook Page post.

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