#MeToo: 'When one person discloses, then immediately other people are sharing their story'
EUGENE, Ore. -- There's a new accusation every single day as hundreds of victims join the #MeToo movement and share their stories of sexual assault or harassment.
"I've never had it in my life and my career where I've seen people so openly disclose," Renae Desautel said.
The clinical social worker and University of Oregon Assistant Dean of Students for Prevention and Response Services said in her 15 years of work, instances of sexual crimes have remained stagnant - but they're being reported more often.
"It's overall culture shifts in our larger communities," she said. "I think part of it is our prevention and response efforts on college campuses where a lot of this has been focused in recent years."
Still, she said, so many sexual assaults are kept secret, mostly out of fear: "That's one of the prevailing things that a lot of survivors feel is that they're alone, that they're never gonna be believed and that they're not going to get the help that they need."
But the current national movement is proof: there's power in numbers.
"It unfortunately is one of the things that brings legitimacy," she said. "When one person discloses then immediately other people are sharing their story."
She hopes this is a cultural shift where survivors can feel safer and more confident in their disclosures, but she says we still have a long way to go.
"It would be great to get to a time where one persons account of what had happened would be believed and it wouldn't take multiple people to share that same experience in order for that to be believed or for that perpetrator to be held accountable," Desautel said.
For now, as difficult as it is to see the endless stories, she says at least survivors know they're not alone.
The University of Oregon has a 24 hour response line as well as counseling, health and legal services for students.
And for other members of the community, the non-profit SASS offers programs and support.
They also have a drop-in center Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.