Friday, 19 October 2018 12:15

Increase in rape reports attributed to culture change

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STATEWIDE (WGME) - Some are pointing to a change in the nation's culture as an explanation for the drastic increase in rape cases compared to 2016 and victim advocates are attributing some of that to the #Me Too movement.

The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault said that people are becoming more open to talking about sexual assault but not to the extent of reporting it to the police.

 

Officials with the coalition said they want to see a system where victims don't fall through the cracks.

 

"Don't feel that it is their duty to report. What we want for victims is for victims to be able to make choices based on having all the information available to them. And that's really our goal," said Cara Courchesne, the coalition's communications director.

 

In terms of domestic violence-related crimes, advocates say they are encouraged by this year's report of numbers going down.

 

But they also note it only shows the difference in the number of cases being reported to police.

 

The number of people calling the domestic violence resource centers in Maine has not decreased.

 

Francine Garland Stark, executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, said the organization served nearly 14,000 victims last year -- a number that continues to increase.

 

"More people calling us means more people know we are available to them and more people are reaching out for help. And that is good," she said.

 

"The bad thing is that there are more people reaching out and more people need our help. And that's not good," she said.

 

"I think it just means that we need to keep doing what we're doing and criminal justice system the same and we'll see decrease everywhere we look," she said.