Sexual misconduct accusations spur others to come forward, seek help

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BETHPAGE -

The recent flood of sexual assault allegations has empowered assault victims to come forward to share their own stories and to seek help.

Every day, trauma counselors are on call at the Safe Center, a nonprofit that helps victims of family violence and sexual assault. Employees say the phone has been ringing a lot more lately since high-profile accusations of sexual harassment and assault have been making headlines almost daily.

"There are definitely more phone calls, and we've seen people who are the victims of rape come forward and say the specific reason they're seeking treatment now is the Harvey Weinstein story," says the center's Anthony Zenkus.

Liz Osowiecki is not only a victims advocate with the Safe Center; she says she was a victim of sexual assault while at college. She says the popular #MeToo campaign on Twitter is also giving everyday people the courage to speak up.

"Just having that solidarity kind of makes people feel safe," she says. "It gives them a safe space to talk about that stuff that they may have never spoken about before."

The center's director says the publicity surrounding the influx of accusations will hopefully change the culture and prevent future abuse.

The Safe Center offers a number of services, including crisis intervention, legal advocacy, safe homes and transitional housing programs. Its 24-hour hotline number is 516-542-0404.

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