LITTLE ROCK, Ark (KTHV) -- The recent news of sexual abuse at Penn State University has caused a surge in the number of victims calling the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline. It's one organization who wishes its phone rang less.
The former assistant football coach at Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, is accused of inappropriate contact with 8 young boys over 15 years.
There have also been allegations against a coach at Syracuse University involving several ball boys.
RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and they have seen a 54% increase of calls--victims speaking up for help. In Arkansas, Safe Places helps victims of sexual and domestic abuse every day. Executive Director Kathy Findley says she can tell that more victims in Arkansas are speaking up as well.
"Male victims very rarely disclose. It is embarrassment. It's something about 'I'm a male. I should have been able to take care of myself.' And that's why you're seeing adult males coming back saying 'this happened to me as a child.' As you're seeing at Penn State and at Syracuse."
Safe Places is one of the 1100 rape crisis centers in the United States which operates sexual assault hotlines. Findley says one call is one too many.
"If someone is raped or sexually abused, the average length of time for them to tell that "secret" is 7 and a half years. And that's IF they tell at all!"
Now, numbers prove that more people feel confident in speaking up and Findley says there is hope for people who come forward. They CAN move on with a healthy, happy future.
"It can be anyone! And we have to be vigilant. what child or teenager really wants to make up a story like that? They don't want that in their life. Believe them!", says Findley.
To call the Violence Crisis hotline in Pulaski County, call (501) 801-2700. Anywhere else in Arkansas you can call toll-free at 1-877-432-5368.
There are other resources in Arkansas that you can use to help report abuse. The National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children have several organizations on their website you can go to as well as Arkansas Commission on Child Abuse, Rape and Domestic Violence.