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In Wake Of Testimony By Dr. Ford At Kavanaugh Hearing, Rape Survivors Speak Up And Out

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  -- For many survivors of sexual violence.. the widespread reporting of the Kavanaugh hearings has triggered flashbacks and unpleasant recollections of what they endured.

Finding strength in the testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, it has also encouraged many women to speak up and speak out -- in many cases, decades after the crime.

KCAL9/CBS2's Peter Daut reports the hearing took place 3,000 miles away but the aftermath is being felt very strongly in Los Angeles, including the Hollywood community.

For the very first time, many women -- some of them actresses -- felt emboldened to tell their stories.

"I was very conflicted as to whether to speak out," Dr. Ford said before her gripping testimony.

As Dr. Ford testified.. "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland revealed on social media that she was sexually assaulted in high school:

"He was a friend. It was New Year's Eve...Everyone was drunk."
"He broke in to the bathroom I was in... I hoped it was a dream."

America Ferrera spoke out on "The View" Friday.

"I am a survivor of sexual assault. I wasn't brave enough to speak about what happened to me to my own family," Ferrera said.

Several women called C-SPAN during a break in the hearings.

Said one, tearfully, "I'm a 76-year-old woman who was sexually molested in the second grade. This brings back so much pain, and I thought I was over this. And I have not brought this up for years until I heard this testimony, and it is just breaking my heart."

More than 120 women rallied on the steps of LA City Hall. They were determined to make their voices heard all the way to Washington.

"People who support women and survivors who support survivors are just aghast that this is happening," said one woman.

There's also been a blizzard of social media posts from women who say they were sexually assaulted.
"It's been 25 years. and this is the first time I've told anyone."
"I was raped by my best friend's boyfriend. Never told a soul. Until now."

The National Sexual Assault Hotline has been inundated with calls:  They report a 200 percent increase as the hearings touched a raw nerve among American women.

"People are feeling like they can actually come out and say something now," says Janet Cano, vice president of Safe Passage.

Safe Passage is a local organization that helps women who are abused.

Cano says survivors of sexual violence are now calling and sharing their stories more than ever before.

"It's a catalyst. You needed something in order for somebody to finally feel comfortable that 'okay, I'm not the only one.'" she said.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the hotline: 800-656-HOPE.

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