Sexual assault numbers on the rise according to experts

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) –  Sexual assault is a growing issue facing many communities, especially college towns.

Many feel sexual assault isn’t something that can happen to them. Being in a new place, with new people can sometimes present the opportunity.

It’s something that’s been going on since the beginning of time. Sexual assault is defined as illegal sexual contact that involves force, on a person without consent.

OCH Regional Medical center ER Director Eddie Coats says it’s not as rare as they would like.

“We average probably four a month for the last several years. We see peaks obviously with the students coming into town,” said Coats.

Sources tell us that there have been 3 reported cases of sexual assault since the beginning of August.

Public Relations officer Brandon Lovelady says sexual assault comes in categories, but all carry the same weight.

“Something like rape, that can be up to life imprisonment. Then you have sexual battery which has numerous levels of punishment based upon the case elements, all of which are felony charges,” said Lovelady.

Lovelady says there are ways to manage a sketchy situation before it gets out of hand.

“Use the buddy system. Don’t go home with someone strange or anything like that. If you choose to drink always have your eye on your drink. For some reason, if you have to take your eyes off your drink have a trusted friend watch your drink. If someone buys you a drink, I recommend you not accepting it if you didn’t see it made,” said Lovelady.

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center shows 1 in 5 women and one in 71 men will be assaulted in their life.

Coats says statistics like that is why it’s so important to report any incidents right away.

“Making sure to preserve any evidence that may be retain either on yourself or on your clothing. We don’t advocate showering or changing clothes we advocate getting to an emergency department as quick as possible,” said Coats.

“Call us and let us know. We can only be in so many places at one time, but us as a team that’s the only way we can reduce crime by working together,” said Lovelady.

Coats goes on to say sexual assault victims should seek a hospital that has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or SANE Nurses.

They are trained specifically for sexual assault examination, which is why it’s so imperative to preserve as much evidence as possible evidence.

Categories: Local News

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