Sexual Assault A Greater Problem Than Believed

11:37 PM, Dec 14, 2011   |    comments
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Sexual Assault A Greater Problem Than Believed

WASHINGTON,DC (WUSA) --- At the DC Rape Crisis Center, new government statistics on sexual violence that are shocking much of the country come as no surprise. In fact, workers here suspect the study may understate the incidence of sexual violence in the United States.

A Centers for Disease Control survey shows nearly one in five American women will endure a rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes, and that 25 percent will be beaten by their partner.

The Director of Counseling at the Rape Crisis Center says experience has led her to different conclusions..

"What we know is that there is one in three women that get sexually abused, and one in six men.

"And by the number of crimes that we have been seeing-- the DC Rape Crisis Center has been around for, now celebrating it's 40th year next year--we run at least eight groups a week with anywhere from 6 to 12 women in each group, so the numbers are pretty high.

"And that's all we do at the DC Rape Crisis Center is serve rape survivors and survivors of child sexual abuse," Molina told 9News Now.

One of those survivors of childhood sexual abuse is Sahtiya Logan, who says her stepfather first sexually abused her when she was three, and continued the abuse until she was 17.

"It was such a long time period that who knows what I would have been like without having that happen?" she asked.

Getting counseling has helped.

"I think I can see a clear difference between myself before and after going to get help, and I'm increasingly happy every day. I think if someone were to ask me what's the happiest point in my life, I would say now," she said.

It hasn't been an easy journey.

"We're working with the survivors. We're working with the women who have indeed been abused and the progress is really measured by their success, by their ability to reclaim their life, to become able to re-integrate into society, by the way in which they are able to cope after such as traumatic event," said Molina.

"We've learned that the assault is a lot more dramatic and and dramatic than we ever thought. Back 40 years ago
we addressed sexual abuse as a social and political issue...what we have learned is that the survivor is a lot more affected by the trauma, that it effects their way of viewing the rest of their life, of viewing their world, their issues of safety, their issues of trust, their ability to relate to people, the way in which they cope within society, the post-traumatic stress that they are left with.

"So, what we have learned is, really, in order to address the needs of the survivor we need to be able to address all of those needs," Molina said.

The DC Rape Crisis Center has a 24-hour hotline to provide help to victims of sexual abuse. 202 -333 - R-A-P-E.

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