PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Regardless of how you feel about the she said-he said Kavanaugh hearing, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape is certain it is going to have an impact on local victims of sexual assault.
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford told the committee Thursday morning, “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone these details. I convinced myself that since Brett did not rape me, I should just move on and pretend that it did not happen. I did my best to ignore the memories of the assault because recounting them caused me to relive the experience and caused panic and anxiety.”
Those thoughts were no surprise to Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR) Clinical Director Dr. Carlos Golfette.
“It’s so common for victims of violence to take decades to talk about a traumatic experience. You fear being blamed for what happened. The focus is going to be on you, the victim. That brings a lot of shame, self-blame, guilt,” he said.
As Dr. Ford detailed the attack and her hesitancy to talk about it, Dr. Golfette says she spoke to everyone holding a sexual assault secret.
“Any survivors of sexual violence will relate to it. It will be a trigger for them,” he said.
He says some will have aggravated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, while it could also “empower survivors of sexual violence who haven’t exposed yet their victimization to have voice.”
Dr. Golfette hopes that, if nothing else, the testimony on Capitol Hill provides for local victims “a window for them to get treatment. You don’t have to live with that. We are here to help you, we are here to believe you, to walk you through this journey of healing.”
He says he’s seen many victims “able to break free of that fear of that sense of lack of trust, and all the things they haven’t been living and fulfilling in their lives because of what happened to them.”
“There is hope, there is treatment,” Dr. Golfette said.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual violence, you can contact Pittsburgh Action Against Rape by calling their 24-hour confidential hotline at 1-866-END-RAPE or visiting their website at https://paar.net/.