Breaking the Silence on Sexual Abuse in Omaha
By Waverle Monroe
November 29, 2017
A day that never ends,
"Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Services, how may I help you?"
A 24/7 crisis hotline that has seen more people come forward to share their stories.
"I saw that for our 24/7 hotline, we've seen a 40 percent increase from last year to this year," said Catholic Charities Domestic Violence Services Supervisor, Rachel Gifford, "and then in our shelter, we've got a 15 percent increase."
Gifford said those statistics are rising month-to-month.
Seeing the effects of the rise is Nebraska Sexual Assault and Abuse Prevention President, and sexual abuse survivor herself, Ren Drincic.
"It's really interesting because ever since #MeToo, the hashtag campaign started, that's really when the influx began," Drincic said.
Drincic said that 'outing' abusers has always been a thing people have done on social media, but after #MeToo it seemed to be everywhere.
"The second that one person came forward everyone else came forward, and it went from being two victims to 20 victims in the span of a day," Drincic said.
Drincic said that she wasn't shocked by recent allegations of Harvey Weinstein or even more recently; Matt Lauer but more so with, musician Jesse Lacey.
"After everything that happened with #MeToo, one of my personal idols was outed, that definitely shocked me but after that, it almost felt like a ticking time bomb," said Drincic.
However, none of the allegations surprised Open Door Mission's Senior Program Director, Steve Frazee.
"The idea that people would use their position, their money, their authority to get something they want from another person, whether the other person wanted it or not, no," Frazee said.
He also said when sexual abuse happens, it's an asymmetrical relationship.
"There's a predator and a victim," he said, "We have to know in our own lines there are bounds you don't cross and that's a boundary you don't cross."
When people come forward, Frazee, Gifford, and Drincic all can agree that it makes people feel less isolated.
"There are people who know exactly how you feel, there are people who have had that experience, so now you’re not alone," Frazee said.
Gifford said support groups that can be found on social media are helpful for those who thought they were the only ones affected by sexual abuse.
"I think that one of the most important things about people coming forward about all of this is that it’s shown survivors that they’re not alone because that is the hardest feeling to deal with," Drincic said.
When Drincic shared her story, she wasn't sure how everyone was going to react and she was baffled at how people handled it.
"Nothing thought I was a slur, slur, slur. Everyone was not only, it was either they believed me or went beyond that, they were like, 'I had a story, too,'" she said.
Catholic Charities' crisis hotline is 402-558-5700.