TAMPA, Fla. — Explosive testimony Thursday captivated millions of Americans and inspired many to seek help.
“I think it has been liberating for many of our sexual assault victims in our community," said Clara Reynolds, CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline saw a 147% increase in calls on Thursday compared to the average weekday, according to RAIN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
“And for us here at the Crisis Center, this is an amazing opportunity to continue to get the message out," said Reynolds. "To say that anybody who’s been a victim of sexual assault is a victim and that they have rights.”
While the Crisis Center did not receive a spike in calls locally, it did see the impact of Thursday's explosive testimony.
“Telling phone calls that came into us," said Reynolds. "Several around Kavanaugh and how this was a triggering event for them.”
Reynolds warns victim blaming is still a deterrent for many victims too scared to report the crime. The Crisis Center reports only a third of victims will come forward.
"Even though we will process about 360 rape exams a year, think about that, that’s about one day, we know for every one we’re doing we’re missing another two," said Reynolds.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline -- 800-656-HOPE -- is free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay sexual assault services hotline is available 24 hours a day by dialing 2-1-1.