Advocates say sexual assault is under-reported in rural areas

Saturday, August 21st 2004, 9:15 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Victims' advocates say sexual assault is under-reported in rural areas because victims are reluctant to come forward and lack access to crisis centers.

That's according to National Sexual Violence Resource Center spokeswoman Susan Lewis.

Lewis says rape victims are less likely to seek help because they may know their attackers or fear embarrassment.

She says while overall crime generally is lower in rural areas, the rate of sexual assault may be as high or higher than in urban areas.

Lewis says victims in rural areas are more likely to know their attackers, and often fear they will be blamed or not believed by police.

Lewis will present her findings during two seminars this month hosted by the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.