Advocacy groups see increase in sex assault calls during Kavanaugh hearing

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DENVER— Her experiences leave scars, but her encounters with sexual assault don’t define Katie.

“It affects me every day,” Katie said. “It affects the way I parent.”

She asked that we don’t use her last name, but hopes sharing her experience will give others courage, in a time where the issue is in the national spotlight.

“Stories of sex assault are not unique,” Katie said. “One in three women in this country have been sexually assaulted.”

Katie says she was sexually abused by a family member as a child.

“I had this decent into a struggle with mental illness very young,” she said. “Depression, anxiety, starting at 14.”

Then she says she was sexual assault when she was 23 at a college party. And then a terrifying night in 2016, where she became a victim in her own home.

“First kind of set it up as like a robbery, and moved into him sexually assaulting me multiple times,” Katie said.

Her assailant turned out to be former Mexican police officer Ricardo Corral-Venegas. He’s serving a 72 years to life sentence on rape charges.

Katie knows she’s unique, being able to openly talk about such horrific events in her life, but hopes this conversation let’s others know it’s okay to come forward.

“I think it’s a difficult moment to be alive as a sex assault survivor, but I’m very grateful to be alive during this time,” Katie said.

After Dr. Ford’s testimony during part of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, sex assault advocacy groups like The Blue Bench in Denver say they’ve received more than double the average phone calls into their hotline.

“A lot of the time, people just need someone to talk to,” said The Blue Bench Executive Director Karmen Carter. “It does help when other people are saying, this happened to me too. People don’t have to feel so alone.”

Carter says some victims are triggered by the hearings, and it brings up a lot of emotions. It’s the same feeling Katie felt when she says she was glued to the TV.

“To see a woman get in front of the entire world and say this is what happened,” Katie said. “For me I found myself identifying with her so much.”

The Blue Bench has a 24/7 sexual assault hotline 303-322-7273. Katie says it’s something she turned to when she was struggling with her own experiences.

“It solely exists to support survivors and for those who feel they have nowhere else to go,” Katie said.

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