Reported sexual assault cases increase, few arrests made

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The Rape Crisis Center of Horry County says they’ve assisted in more sexual assault cases this summer compared to last.

Director of the crisis center, Tracy Bowie, says 31 rape cases have been reported from July to September.

20 cases were reported in July compared to 10 cases last July.

Bowie says in more cases than not a survivor is sexually assaulted by someone they know and is often the reason why survivors do not report the abuse to police.

The majority of reported cases in Horry County are made by people who live in the county.

The Horry County Solicitor’s Office says the majority of sexual assault cases are in the third degree and alcohol is often a factor.

Adult survivors of sexual assault are always given the option to press charges.

“We always give everybody their options, but of course we want people to report to law enforcement. We want people to be held accountable for this and to not do this again,” said Bowie.

Out of the 31 reported cases this summer only nine arrests have been made.

Bowie says many survivors do not press charges or report the assault to police out of fear of not being believed.

The solicitor’s office currently has 52 criminal sexual assault cases pending.

“Some of them can be from 2016, 2017. These are the hardest cases to move. Believe it or not, you have a better percentage or chance of someone pleading to a murder than pleading to a rape,” said solicitor Jimmy Richardson.

Richardson encourages all survivors to report their abuse as soon as possible to help build their case.

The crisis center works to collect evidence and offers free services to help survivors heal.

Bowie says it takes incredible courage for a survivor to report their case to police, as many take blame.

“Most sexual assault victims are going to feel guilty. They always take that blame and that guilt and so it’s really hard to be able to come out and talk about that when you feel like it’s your fault,” said Bowie.

Bowie says her and her team make a great effort to make survivors feel heard and believed.

The Rape Crisis Center of Horry County has services available 24 hours of the day.

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