National Sexual Assault Hotline receives 57% spike in calls after Brett Kavanaugh allegations

Maya Oppenheim

There has been a 57 per cent spike in calls to America's National Sexual Assault Hotline after misconduct allegations were made against Donald Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford, will give evidence to the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week. She has alleged that he drunkenly tried to remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and covered her mouth at a high school party when she was 15 and he was 17.

The allegation sparked the #WhyIDidn’tReport hashtag to go viral on Twitter last week.

Deborah Ramirez, his former Yale University classmate has claimed Mr Kavanaugh once exposed himself to her at a party when they were students.

Judge Kavanaugh, who currently serves as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has strenuously denied the allegations.

Appearing Fox News alongside his wife, Ashley, he told host Martha MacCallum that he was "not going to let false accusations drive us out of this process".

Denying the latest allegation saying he added that he "never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise".

He said: "We're looking for a fair process where I can be heard defending my integrity, my lifelong record of promoting dignity and equality for women - starting with the women who knew me when I was 14 years old."

Despite his denials, Sara McGovern, press secretary at the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) which runs the National Sexual Assault Hotline, said it had been inundated with calls since the allegations emerged.

"There was a 57 per cent uptick in calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline from Friday to Sunday compared to an average Friday to Sunday”, she told CNN. "We often see an increase in calls when sexual assault stories are in the news. For example, following the [Harvey] Weinstein case and the #MeToo movement, the Hotline saw a 46 per cent increase."

She added that “the demand for RAINN's services has been off the charts” since the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault."

She said: "Our victim service programs went from helping about 15,000 victims per month to helping about 22,000 per month."

The #MeToo movement exploded last autumn after a series of sexual misconduct allegations were made against powerful men in Hollywood and a number of other industries.

Nevertheless, the call line is wholly confidential and anonymous so she said she was not able to give details on the actual calls.

In January, Scott Berkowitz, the founder and president of RAINN, said the anti-sexual violence organisation had added 40 employees to its staff of 200 and stepped up volunteer recruiting.

At the time, he said that had helped to chip away at the wait times.