On the heels of Ray Rice being suspended indefinitely from the NFL, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has seen an 84 percent increase in calls. According to the hotline’s CEO Katie Ray-Jones, it typically receives 500 to 600 calls a day from victims, friends and family members. But now that number has reached over 1000 calls a day.
“We had an outpouring of women saying, ‘Oh my god, I didn’t realize this happened to other people.’ They thought they were living a life that was very unique to them,” Ray-Jones told The Huffington Post. “One woman called in who is married to a [mixed martial arts] fighter. She said, ‘I just saw that video, and I know my husband could do worse, and I need help.”
Unfortunately the line doesn’t have the manpower or enough money to hire extra people to answer the calls.
“Last year, we didn’t answer over 77,000 calls due to lack of resources,” Ray-Jones said. “Our advocates were really busy before, so they’re definitely feeling the impact of the video now. This is a situation where women are holding longer on the lines and waiting for an advocate to be free. But we don’t have the financial resources to bring in more staff, so we’re at a place where we’re just encouraging advocates to do the best they can.”
The organization was dealt a huge blow after receiving cuts from its federal government funding due to the sequestration.
“We need to take the survivors’ voices to the Hill,” she said. “This is real. This issue has a face. And people saw a face with Ray Rice and the imagery of what people are experiencing.”
Here’s a novel idea, have the NFL foot the bill.