MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – With sexual assaults reported at Tanger Outlets just outside Myrtle Beach and at the Diplomat Motel in the last few weeks and others, are there more victims coming forward or are there more sexual assaults?
“Perhaps they’re afraid of the perpetrator. Perhaps they don’t want to go through with an investigation or trial,” said Rape Crisis Center of Horry County victim advocate Kathy Andrews. “So, they call us, and they say I’ve been raped. I just want to talk to someone.”
More victims are coming forward to talk.
“People want to be heard, and they’re reporting it more,” said Andrews.
They’re coming forward about being victims of sexual assault or rape.
“They’re saying okay, maybe somebody will believe me now,” said Andrews.
Andrews says there’s more dialogue thanks to the Me Too movement, and there’s more people on the Grand Strand during the summer months, which means more crime.
“They’re having cookouts, they’re walking on the beach, they’re using more alcohol, you know, they’re feeling free, they’re on vacation, and sometimes things happen,” she said.
The Rape Crisis Center of Horry County was called to the hospital for a rape or sexual assault case 13 times in May of this year alone.
Andrews says this too is an increase from other months and years, and she thinks victims reporting sexual assaults or rapes will continue to increase.
“With awareness and community outreach, we’re going to be seeing more people coming forward and reporting sexual assaults,” she said.
And, one thing to remember.
“If it doesn’t feel right, leave,” she said. “Trust your intuition.”
Andrews says they were called to the hospital last year by victims of sexual assault or rape 110 times.
As many as 14 to 18 million visitors flock to the Grand Strand every summer, and Myrtle Beach Police Cpl. Tom Vest confirms that as the summer season begins, crime rises.