Number of reported rape cases on the rise in Columbia

Organizations say statistics can be misleading

Number of reported rape cases on the...

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Every 98 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States and the number of reported rapes is steadly increasing. 

November, Columbia recorded one of the highest numbers of reported rape cases and in any month of 2016.

Sexual assault organizations say the statistics might not always be accurate however. 

According to multiple organizations that focus on sexual assault and abuse, only about 40 percent of rapes get reported to the police. 

While the number of reported rapes is rising, public awareness about the issue has also increased, which some organizations say could be a contributing factor as to why more rapes are reported.

In November, 15 rapes were reported; in 2015, two were reported in November. 

Experts say some contributing factors to the incline could be that school is back in session and school resources have increased.

According to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence the numbers reported aren't always an accurate reflection of actual assaults.

"Some people immediately report and it's very common for people to wait and report," Jennifer Carter Dochler told ABC 17 News. "Whether they wait a few days, weeks, months or for some even years."

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Networks says out of every 1,000 rapes 994 perpetrators will walk away free. 310 are reported to police, 57 lead to an arrest, 11 cases get referred to prosecutors, seven lead to a felony conviction and six will be incarcerated.

"It's important to realize the level of proof to make an arrest," Carter Dochler said. "It's a different level than what the prosecution needs and law enforcement needs 51 percent for probable cause to make an arrest. The prosecution needs beyond a reasonable doubt."

Studies show that young women between the age of 18 to 34 are typically at a higher risk of sexual violence. 

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