Rape statistics show increase in reports
Every major crime index fell in Florida last year, with the exception of one: forcible rape.
Victim advocates are applauding the increasing number of reports.
Advocate Meg Baldwin says rape is the most under-reported crime in Florida and the nation.
“If you take the reported number and multiply it by five, with the understanding that there is a twenty percent reporting rate, then you are probably reaching the right number for what the real incidence of sexual assault is," Baldwin said.
The most pressing reason victims don’t report is the fear of not being believed.
“She was afraid to like call the police because she didn’t want anyone to be mad at her,” said a friend of a victim.
Because rape is so under-reported, when reports go up, as they have the last five years in a row in Florida, advocates know they are doing their job.
“When we see it go down, we’re concerned whether we are doing the right kind of outreach to encourage victims to come forward for help. When we see it go up, that can be an indication that the community is doing a good job," said Baldwin.
Adding confidence for victims is that FDLE is caught up on a backlog of 8,600 rape kits, and is now testing rape kits as they come in.
Fewer than 2,000 old rape kits remain to be tested. FDLE reports it is testing 99.9 percent of new kits within the four months allowed by law and many much quicker.
911 operators are also receiving better training and police are being taught to be more sensitive.
Seven thousand nine hundred and thirty-four rapes were reported in Florida in 2017. Using the guideline that only one in five was reported, that means just under 40,000 people were raped last year.