FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFTA)–Today marks the one year anniversary of the “Me Too” movement.
It caught fire last year on social media as a hashtag, to help sexual assault survivors speak out and spread awareness about abuse. One local Fayetteville organization has seen an increase in victims coming forward.
Since August, it has received more than 75 more hotline calls, received more than 58 more clients and reached almost 2,000 more people through outreach and education.
For 35 years, the NWA Center for Sexual Assault has taken calls to listen to victims of sexual abuse as they share their personal experiences.
The workers at the call center say things like “I believe you, this was not your fault, I’m listening and I’m here to help you find support,” to victims seeking help.
The center believes the increase is due to the “Me Too” movement and the public’s willingness to open up.
Anne Shelley, the executive director of the NWA Center for Sexual Assault, says “if we had been having this conversation a little over a year ago, I would have looked you in the eye and said that I work in a field that no one wants to talk about.”
Now that people are talking about it, the center can provide services like counseling and education, and offer rape kit exams. If the people working at the help center can’t cater to specific need, they will make sure to find someone who can.
All services at the NWA Center for Sexual Assault are free.