Troubling Rape Statistics
Despite the frequency of sexual assaults and rapes, according to the FBI, only 37% of rapes are reported to law enforcement. The reluctance by many victims to report their assaults is due to a variety of factors, including fear and feelings of shame.
And the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center reported that one out of every nine adult women in Florida has been the victim of forcible rape sometime in her lifetime.
This statistic is one of the reasons why Alachua County provides the Rape Crisis and Recovery Center for victims. They work to help victims of rape and other violent crimes find justice and healing.
Laura Kalt, Victim Advocate Counselor said, "We can have a victim advocate meet them anytime day or night...we always have someone on call to respond out to the crime scene, to the hospital, to be there with them."
Regardless of whether a victim chooses to report their assault, the center provides free and confidential services like counseling and assistance with medical treatment.
Alachua County also provides prevention programs like the RAD program, which stands for Rape Aggression Defense.
Lead instructor in the RAD program, Deputy Shawn Pagel said, "We don't want those events to happen to make people think, hey I gotta do something to protect myself...I want to take that approach now, before something has happened to me."
RAD teaches women crime prevention tips, defense moves and techniques and then puts their training to the test in an attack simulation.
But even with awareness and prevention, incidents can still happen. That's why those at the crisis center are here to remind survivors that healing is possible.
Kalt said, "Each individual, we see them as a survivor...we don't see them as a victim and so our goal is to help empower them, to help them continue to recover...and we believe in the individual's ability to recover and to move on..."
To contact the Alachua County Rape Crisis Center's 24 hour hotline call 352-264-6760. To find more information about upcoming RAD classes go to alachuasheriff.org.
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