Florida’s statistics on reported rape show a decline over the past 10 years. Crisis centers say that’s not the case — everyone does not report assault.
According to the Florida Statistical Analysis Center, since 2003 Florida’s reports on rape by force have gone down. In 2011 (most recent numbers available) there were 4,950 reports of rape by force. Florida reports on rape have not been that low since 1986.
The reason for the decline is unsure, said Gretl Plessinger FDLE’s communications director. “Some think it was because of the economy. But when the economy started getting bad again there was no increase,” Plessinger said. “Some believe it’s because we incarcerate more people.”
“There is some uncertainty in Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) statistics,” said Ebony Tucker, associate executive director of Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV). Tucker said that although the statistics show a decline, not every rape victim reports her assault.
Refuge House, a rape crisis center, serves seven counties around Tallahassee. Jessica Pinto, a community education director, said the number of rapes has not decreased, but the number increases each year.
“About 100 advocates go see victims in the hospital. Over 1,000 victims call the hotline, and we counsel 1,000 people at the center. This number tends to go up by the hundreds each year,” said Pinto.
Rural communities have shown an increase in sexual assault, Pinto said. “We have been working really hard in rural communities. Sexual assault is higher there because the victims finally realize they have resources. Now instead of people coming out saying they were raped two weeks ago, people are coming out and saying they were raped 20 years ago.”
Visit https://www.fcasv.org/professionals/event-calendar to see FCASV events for Sexual Assault Awareness month.
To view Florida’s statistics on rape and sexual assault go to http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/content/getdoc/6728cc3e-438c-40e4-8161-b72b3c31e813/FSAC-Home.aspx