SALT LAKE CITY — A social work professor at the University of Utah believes Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ultimately help victims across the country.
“It’s an opportunity for people to heal,” said Dr. David Derezotes, who has taught at the university for more than 30 years.
During his classes Thursday, the professor listened to his students discuss their own experiences.
“I had students in my classes talk about their sexual abuse and they said they never told anyone before,” Derezotes said.
After so much time spent working with victims, Derezotes understands why some wait years to come forward to seek help.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘if I talk about this, people are going to view me as tainted. No one would want to marry me,’” Derezotes said. “There is shame, guilt. A lot of time people who are victimized through sexual assault, even though they know in their heads it's not their fault, they feel blame.”
While the hearing, which gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a chance to listen to the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Kavanaugh was often contentious, Derezotes thinks it will force people to talk about an uncomfortable subject.
“You said, what would be the outcome of this in peoples' homes. Probably, painful conversations and thoughts and feelings,” Derezotes said.
Victims of sexual assault can get help through the National Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or www.rainn.org.