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#MeToo Movement impacting local Rape Crisis Center

The #MeToo Movement has had a significant impact on the valley's Rape Crisis Center as the number of people seeking help increases. (KSNV)

It was a simple hashtag that exploded into a nationwide cultural shift.

In the past year, the #MeToo movement prompted thousands of sexual assault victims, who otherwise might have remained silent, to speak out.

"When awareness is raised around sexual assault, when the conversations are happening, you have more people coming forward because you don't have people feeling so stigmatized," said Daniele Dreitzer, director of the Las Vegas Rape Crisis Center.

She says her office hotline now receives an average of 400 calls per month.

Last year a record 750-plus victims were directed to UMC for sexual assault examinations.

While those numbers are astounding, Dreitzer says it may just be the tip of the iceberg.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life.

Dreitzer says prevention and education are now a focus for the center, working with educators, police, even Las Vegas nightclubs.

That's in addition to providing crisis intervention, counseling and courtroom assistance to victims.

Her clientele list is expected to increase even more as recent legislation mandated more than 6,500 rape kits in Southern Nevada be reopened for testing.

"That's kind of been the focus over the last couple of years, to get all the kits physically to the lab to be tested to start to get those results back. Then the next step is kind of that investigation process," said Dreitzer.

A daunting task, as is helping to create that cultural shift.

A shift away from behavior she says should no longer be tolerated.

Everyone is invited to join News 3 for a Night Out benefiting the Rape Crisis Center. Information can be found here.

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