Rape Crisis: the story behind the numbers

Photo provided by staff
Monday, February 3, 2014 - 9:21am

By last count, the city of Baton Rouge averaged 70 cases of rape in the year 2012. Though official numbers aren't out yet for 2013 police say expect much of the same.

"We do believe that at the end of this year the numbers will be slightly increased due to the number of people coming forward and admitting to being victimized through rape," shared Cpl. L’Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Except those numbers don't really tell the full story, because not every type of sexual assault fits in to the FBI's narrow definition.

"Those stats really only pick up forcible rapes and they don't include aggravated rape, simple rape or sexual battery," explained Rachael Hebert with the Sexual Trauma awareness and response center.

That leaves sex crimes against men and children, as well as oral assaults, off the list, meaning those numbers are actually a lot higher than you think.

"When people see numbers as high as 60 it alarms them, and of course we don't want to alarm them further but we do know those assaults are double, or triple even than what we're seeing," said Hebert.

She said the community might be shocked to realize just how many people in our area are victims of the crime.

"It's surprising how low they are, because what we see at star is about 600 survivors per year, and the reports range from 40-60 per year depending. So when we see those stats they are actually representing a much lower number than what we're seeing," said Hebert.

Police have said they are doing what they can to prevent the crimes, but they also need you to step up and take a pro-active role.

"With the equalizer classes for ladies, we're encouraging individuals to take part in that so they can learn to defend themselves. Come forward with information when crimes like that are about to happen. Overall it's just an awareness, when and if something like this does happen, if they could report it, we could get those individuals off the streets," said McKneely.

The FBI could soon be changing its own definition, leaving us with much higher stats.

"What we are hearing is that there will be a change, and when that change comes, we're expecting those numbers to go up because of the way that they're reported," said McKneely.

If you were a victim of sexual assault or need help you can contact the STAR Center by clicking here.


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