DENVER (KDVR) — Since October, The Blue Bench, a sexual assault survivor advocacy group, said calls for support in Denver shot up to a point never seen before.
If you or someone you know survived a sexual assault, there is help.
“Survivors and their loved ones can receive support in a variety of ways. Most people start with calling our hotline,” the Blue Bench Executive Director Megan Carvajal said.
According to Carvajal, calls made to The Blue Bench hotline hit a record number last month.
“In November, we’ve seen an increase of 78% over our normal monthly call volume,” Carvajal said. That amounts to a total number of calls exceeding 300 for the month of November.
Requests for medical care at area hospitals have gone up as well.
“We are seeing a more than 100% increase over the average number of requests,” Carvajal said. The increase has led to more than 50 calls for survivor support at area hospitals.
Experiences related to the holiday season are attributed as a possible cause.
“If it was around the holidays or if they are around people who are related to that trauma, that emotional labor is intense,” she said.
Carvajal added you can be the first person to help someone in this situation: “Intervene safely, starting a conversation so that victim can move away.”
Also, a reminder that if you’re going to help someone, don’t be afraid to get support for yourself.
“When we have a family member or friend who’s experienced a sexual assault, we’re experiencing trauma ourselves,” she said.
The high number of calls has put the therapy services The Blue Bench can offer on a backlog.
“We’re on a six- to eight-week waiting list,” Carvajal said. “That is because the demand is higher than we are prepared to handle.”
To donate or seek help for yourself or a loved one reach out to The Blue Bench online.