Marshall County sexual assault crisis center seeing upswing in calls

Updated: Nov. 21, 2017 at 5:24 PM CST
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ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Sexual assault crisis centers appear to be getting more calls in light of recent sexual assault allegations involving well-known people.

Calls to Family Services of North Alabama concerning sexual assault are on the rise, and it's not just recent assaults.

"We have had some calls from people who have been abused several years ago," said Sherrie Hiatt, victim services director for Family Services of North Alabama in Albertville.

There's been a lot of talk about sexual assault in the news with Senate candidate Roy Moore along with other politicians. Hiatt, said with so many women coming out, it's acting as a trigger from a time when they felt it best not to talk.

"They feel empowered. These women, these victims, are having a voice. 'Why can't I?'" said Hiatt.

But the big question is why come out 40 years later in the midst of a major election. Hiatt feels it's a victim's reaction to what they feel happened to them.

"It makes them think, 'I don't want somebody like that having such power in this state,' and I think that makes people speak up and speak out," she said.

But Hiatt urges women not to wait decades after an assault to say something. She said by not saying anything, it can manifest itself in a person, making it difficult to live with.

"That's why we want to help people speak up and speak out. You talk about it, we are going to believe you. That's our first step," said Hiatt.

If you live in Marshall or DeKalb counties, you can call Family Services of North Alabama for help at 855-878-9159. In all other areas, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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