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Rape crisis center reports increase in calls during holiday season

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

While most people think of the holiday season as a time of celebration and joy, there are many others who are reminded of dark and painful memories.

A small space inside a Greektown office building is home to the YWCA Chicago where rape crisis counselors answer calls from sexual assault survivors.

While the center usually receives about 100 calls a month, Nabilah Talib says call volume increases during the holiday season.

"We definitely see calls coming in, in relationship to the holidays," Talib says. "I think we get an additional 50 calls. I think these are times in the year that individuals are having more instances of people violating them or are having more triggers as of the holidays and figuring out how to cope with it."

Triggers can include flashbacks of the sexual assault sparked by sounds, noises or images.

Anacany Barrera says counselors have access to a catalogue filled with resources. She also says the increased call volume creates another need - more volunteer bilingual rape crisis counselors.

"If they're interested in being a part of the healing," Barerra adds.

This is just one of seven centers located across Chicago. Five rape crisis counselors are on staff and more than 40 are volunteers.

Barerra debunked the sexual assault stereotypes that often prevent people from getting help.

"I think a lot of times we hear the typical someone's jogging, running and they get attacked from behind in an alley and really the statistics show that it's going to be someone you know," says Barerra. "It's going to maybe be a family member, a close friend and that's what makes it so hard."

Calls are completely confidential and survivors remain anonymous.

The Rape Crisis Hotline also experiences increased call volume during the onset of summer.

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  • Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: 1-888-293-2080
  • South Suburban Rape Crisis Hotline: 708-748-5672
  • West Suburban Rape Crisis Hotline: 630-971-3927

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