Seattle Storm star Breanna Stewart shares story of sexual abuse in 'me too' campaign
SEATTLE - The 'Me Too' campaign has another famous face. This time Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart is sharing her story of sexual assault.
Local advocates say they're already seeing an impact from all the survivors who have come forward to say it happened to them too.
Stewart, who plays with a lot of heart on the court, spoke from the heart and the moment her story went online the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center's Deputy Director DeAnn Yamamoto's said her email inbox was flooded with links to the story.
"I thought Breanna did a beautiful job, and all the different layers of what she remembers and how the reminders like smell, sight and sound bring it back alive," said Yamamoto.
"Now it's everyday people that are realizing just how big this problem is we always knew the numbers were astronomical," added Yamamoto
Yamamoto said since the campaign of women and men sharing their stories on social media with '#metoo' the center has seen an uptick in calls for help to its 24-hour crisis line from survivors and supporters.
Stewart told her story to The Player's Tribune, revealing she was just nine years old when she first assaulted by an adult male at a relative's home.
She struggled over what to do, was confused but finally told her parents two years later. Her abuser was arrested.
There's a lot she says she can't remember, but hopes sharing her survival story will help others.
"She has chosen to show her support to other survivors -- and that is a gift," said Yamamoto, who insists the hardest thing for victims is the fear that they won't be believed.
She said the MeToo campaign triggered after sexual allegations against high profile people, including former movie executive Harvey Weinstein, has made sexual assault part of everyday conversation.
"I feel it's a long time coming past due if you will," said Seattle's Derek Mahoney, passing outside the Seattle Storm Ticket Office at KeyArena.
We had no trouble finding people aware of '#metoo'.
"We have seen things like this before a lot of outrage and then it quickly dies down," said Jenna Isbell of Seattle, also outside the Key.
She said in the short term, the campaign is affecting positive change, and she's thrilled about that, but she's skeptical and worries whether it will make a difference long term.
Yamamoto said it's not only okay, but normal to not want to be in a state of constant high anxiety.
"Awareness has been created, it's okay for us to be, 'enough,' that’s just a natural reaction for us to not want to hear it anymore, it doesn't mean we don't believe it happens," she said.
KOMO requested an interview with Stewart on Monday. She is in China playing basketball and was not available.
Anyone who needs help can call the King County Sexual Assault Resource Line 24/7, at 888-99-VOICE.