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Steubenville trial prompts spike in calls to Rape Crisis Center

5:31 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center had the most calls ever in two-day period in its 39-year history in the first two days of the highly publicized rape case in Steubenville began.

They were calls from rape survivors requesting counseling appointments.

"We know that the media coverage of this trial can trigger flashbacks, anxiety, nightmares and other trauma symptoms for the hundreds of thousands of rape survivors who live in Ohio and across the country," said Megan O'Bryan, CEO of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

"We are thrilled that survivors know that they have a safe place to call if they want to talk to someone anonymously or if they want to schedule a counseling appointment."

The Center's 24-hour rape crisis and support hotline number is (216) 619-6192.

O'Bryan said that the Center experienced a similar spike in calls when the sexual abuse case involving a football coach at Penn State University broke in the news media.

At one point, the number of calls from men who experienced sexual abuse increased more than 300 percent.  Since that time, therapists have run three support groups exclusively for male survivors, also a first for the rape crisis center.

In addition to calls from rape survivors, the Center is fielding an increased number of calls from people who want to volunteer and from groups requesting a speaker to talk about preventing rape.

"People are outraged by what happened in Steubenville," added O'Bryan. "People are calling to find out how they can proactively work to end sexual violence.  We are happy to answer their call."

Even the Steubenville City School District has called on the expertise of Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, asking for help in communicating sensitive information to parents and teachers and staff.

Cleveland Rape Crisis Center supports survivors of sexual violence, promotes healing and prevention and creates social change.

The Center served more than 17,000 people in 2012.

For more information, visit www.clevelandrapecrisis.org or call 216-619-6194. The Center's 24-hour hotline is 216-619-6192.

WKYC-TV

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