More Sexual Assault Survivors Coming Forward For Help

Sep 28, 2018, 7:55 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Partisan politics aside, the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and the subsequent judiciary hearing, have stirred up deep feelings for some sexual assault survivors.

It has also awakened a deeper community conversation surrounding the issue, according to the education and outreach director for the Rape Recovery Center in Salt Lake City.

No matter how people line up politically, this allegation of sexual assault has had a big impact on survivors of sexual assault, the rape crisis centers which support them, and the way the community is talking about the issue.

“First and foremost, regardless of all of the other things, believe survivors,” said Stephany Murguia.

Since 1974, that’s been the message for sexual assault survivors from the center. The director of education and outreach said the need for their services is growing.

“With the increase in the #MeToo movement, we’ve seen a drastic increase in services,” said Murguia.

In the last 12 months, there has been a 70 percent increase in all services to victims of sexual assault. The center has expanded its staff 30 percent to meet the needs.

The center has seen another spike since Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford.

“A drastic increase in our crisis line and advocacy calls,” said Murguia.

The believed the increase was because of the conversations and news surrounding the accusations. Hearing the story of a sexual assault survivor on national TV has affected victims of sexual assault and opened up the conversation to more people.

“This is the first time we’re having this conversation on this level, and that’s really transformative,” said Murguia.

The national events have stirred new community support for victims of sexual assault and the organizations that help them, she said.

Murguia hoped we will all take time to ask ourselves and the people around us how we can do better.

“Our role as a society is to provide them the support, and start being better, start thinking about how can we end this issue from ever happening in the first place,” she said.

The outreach director told KSL the most important thing for sexual assault survivors was to take care of themselves. That may mean tuning out the national debate, and possibly calling a crisis line.

The number statewide for sexual violence crisis information is 801-421-1100.

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More Sexual Assault Survivors Coming Forward For Help