More than half of all sexual assaults go unreported according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how law officers and medical professionals in Mississippi are working hand in hand to protect victims.

" /> Law Enforcement, Medical Professionals Work Together to Fight Sexual Assaults | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Law Enforcement, Medical Professionals Work Together to Fight Sexual Assaults

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Apr 2012 06:14pm | comments

More than half of all sexual assaults go unreported according to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how law officers and medical professionals in Mississippi are working hand in hand to protect victims.

Every two minutes someone in the U.S. is victim of a sexual assault. There's an increased effort to educate Mississippians about what a sex crime is, and how not to become a victim. Shalotta Sharp, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, says crime victims normally get sympathy, but that's not always the case with rape victims.

"With a sex crime society tries to put blame on the victim. They shouldn't have been in a certain place, dressed a certain way, been out, been drinking, but the truth of the matter is, victims don't ask to be sexually assaulted."

At the police training academy in Jackson, Sharp is teaching cadets how to handle rape cases. Those who go into law enforcement expect to fight crime, but Sharp says dealing with victims of sexual assaults can be completely different.

"Victims sometimes are afraid of law enforcement. Are afraid of communicating. So we can teach them how to handle the situation so that they do believe the victim. That they don't go, 'Well she doesn't want to talk to me about this so it must not have happened.'"

Investigating an assault case is two fold. The 1st part is providing medical care to the victim. The other is collecting evidence of a crime. Sergeant Joseph Wade is over training for the Jackson Police Department.

"Preserve that crime scene, gather information, sympathize with the victim. Do not victimize them twice. Do not get there and question them about whether you think it happened or not. It's not up to you. It's up to a judge and jury."

Studies show 97 percent of rapists are never caught. Those fighting sexual assaults hope better response to rape cases will lead to more victims coming forward and more convictions of offenders.

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