HOUSTON—Calls to rape crisis lines appear to be on the rise in Houston, and some experts believe the increase could be due to the Jerry Sandusky trial in Pennsylvania.
"It presents an opportunity to talk about it and to inform the community," said Sonia Corrales, the Chief Program Officer at the Houston Area Women’s Center.
Sandusky, the former assistant Penn State football coach, was convicted of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years on Friday.
The Houston Area Women’s Center runs a rape crisis line that receives about 3,000 calls a year. They said the vast majority of victims calling in are women, but they hear from a good number of male victims, too.
"We tell them that they’re brave and that it’s not their fault," added Corrales. "We tell them there’s help available. That counseling is available to them."
Some victims try to hide what happened out of fear and shame, she said. "We have survivors who call us and who have never told anyone before. They’ve lived with the secret for 10, 15, and sometimes 20 years."
With the Sandusky case in the news, some experts hope more victims will have the courage to come forward.