How high-profile sexual assault cases can affect local survivors

VIDEO: Advocate explains struggles many sexual assault victims may face

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Advocates say the national conversation about sexual assault can trigger flashbacks for survivors.

One in five women and one in 71 men will be the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Watching Christine Blasey Ford testify Thursday hit home for Kristrine Camenzind.

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“I will say, listening to Dr. Ford talking about this happening in the '80s, it really does take me back,” she said.

These days, Camenzind is the executive director of the Human Response Network in Chehalis. She understands what the women and men she works with go through because she’s also a survivor.

“Having been sexually assaulted at 18,” she said, “I have nothing to say about the rape, I mean, who’s going to believe me? You just internalize.”

Brett Kavanaugh firmly denies Ford’s sexual assault allegations, but this is far from the only high profile case.

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Since the #MeToo movement went viral last fall, Camenzind said they’ve taken more calls at the Human Response Network. They’ve also seen more victims come forward to speak about their experiences.

In Lewis County alone, there have been more than 60 reported adult and child sexual assault victims since July 1.

“Every 96 seconds in the United States somebody gets raped. Every eight minutes it’s a child that’s been sexually assaulted,” said Camenzind.

She said it can happen to anyone.

“He ripped my pants and my pants, I mean, I was completely exposed to everybody in the bar and I said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I was just hoping I could convince you to be with me,’” she said about her own experience.

Advocates say the best advice they can give anyone who’s been sexually assaulted is to speak out and speak to someone they trust.

For a list of local resources for sexual assault victims, the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs has contacts broken down by county.