Experts say Kavanaugh hearing could spur unwanted memories for sexual assault survivors

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Despite Kavanaugh's strong denial of the allegations against him, mental health experts say Thursday's hearing could cause victims of sexual violence to experience a surge of unwanted memory.

Just days after comedian Bill Cosby was sent to prison for sexual assault.

The spotlight on sexual misconduct shifted to our nation's capital Thursday. This after testimony evidence came out during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing.

The allegations against Supreme court nominee Kavanaugh have seemed to spark a national discussion on the topic.

"This news coverage will likely be a trigger for many people whose abuse has been underground for months, years, decades," said Fresno State Psychologist Susan Napolitano.

Staying quiet can be a complex burden for many victims of sexual abuse says Napolitano.

She believes the testimony heard could stir up feelings for victims who have remained quiet.

Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee she was terrified to come forward.

"People report right away more likely with the assailant is a total stranger because you dont have anything to lose," says Napolitano. "You don't have a relationship and people are more likely to believe you."

Judge Kavanaugh came out swinging during his testimony to senators -- defending himself against the sexual assault allegations from 37-years-ago.

"When you're looking at an allegation...its far in the past and you can't prove it you got to ask yourself what does this person have to gain. Because for the most part disclosing sexual abuse you have everything to lose and very little to gain," said Napolitano.

But the Kavanaugh hearing could be a flashpoint where more sexual abuse victims begin to seek help.

"For the years I'll see a story come up and all of a sudden people might start coming to therapy or people that are in therapy will start to talk about it I think this is stirring up feelings on both ends," said Napolitano.

If you, or someone you know, is the victim of sexual assault, there is help available.

The Marjaree Mason Center has a 24-hour crisis hotline (559) 233-HELP (4357) and more resources are available at
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