Thursday, April 25, 2013
Crime experts estimate that most sexual assaults go unreported. A Wichita therapist blames that on the psychological trauma sexual assault victims endure.
The National Sexual Assault Violence Resource Center estimates that 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported by their victims. Therapist Matthew Gallagher said victims are often too afraid to come forward.
"It's not their fault," Gallagher said. "It's the choices of someone else."
He said victims of sexual assault often second guess their own actions and may feel it is easier emotionally not to say anything.
"People a lot of times will report feeling ashamed to say anything like they did something wrong, which is completely misplaced," Gallagher said.
Fear also prevents many victims from reporting the crime because most victims of sexual assault know their attacker.
According to the National Sexual Assault Violence Resource Center, 63 percent of sexual assaults nationally go unreported. The number is even more staggering on college campuses, where more than 90 percent of sexual assault victims do not report the attack.
Colleges and universities are doing everything they can to fight that trend.
"Every university or college campus has some services to provide or at least a referral agency; an agency to which they can refer," Gallagher said.
He added it is best for the long-term emotional healing of victims to come forward.
"It's okay for somebody to report this," Gallagher said. "They are not going to be judged. They're going to be accepted and supported and shown the love that they need."