About one out of four girls is sexually assaulted in the United States before the age of 18, and one in six boys.
These statistics are rarely talked about outside of classrooms and seminars. But WHQR’s Bob Workmon reports New Hanover County law enforcement and service organizations are hoping to turn talk to action, raising public awareness about the prevalence of these crimes during April’s Sexual Abuse Activism Month.
At this month’s regular meeting of the Sexual Assault Response Team, Julie Ozier of the Rape Crisis Center took a moment after learning about procedures for collecting evidence to touch on some of the most common reasons so many victims find the pursuit of justice so daunting.
“I think many times people still feel unsure. They feel like they’re going to be blamed. They feel ashamed. And so they’re hesitant to come forward to get the help they need and then maybe, perhaps, make a report so that that perpetrator can be held accountable.”
Ozier says most people don’t know how often these crimes occur. In 2011 the Rape Crisis Center served more than 400 victims in New Hanover County alone. At this time, the District Attorney’s office is prosecuting about 45 cases.
More information about the Rape Crisis Center is available at 910-392-6936 or coastalhorizons.org