UNDTED (WTVB) - April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Michigan State Police Coldwater Post says it’s seeking to educate victims regarding the importance of reporting sexual assault. Trooper Jereme Miller says victims of sexual assault are often afraid to come forward because they may feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about what people may think about them, their family or their friends. Miller says despite this, it is important to report a crime of sexual assault because it can help the victim begin the healing process and give detectives a better chance of catching the offender.
Physical evidence collected from the victim at the scene of the crime plays a large role in the prosecution of sexual assault cases. The longer a victim waits to report the crime, the less likely detectives will be able to collect necessary evidence. Additionally, as time passes, it becomes more difficult for the victim to recall important details of the crime.
Miller says most important of all, victims who report sexual assaults help law enforcement to send a message to offenders that what they did was not okay and there are consequences for their actions. There are many resources available to victims of sexual assault.
The Michigan Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault provides a comprehensive list of service providers across the state on their website at: http://www.mcadsv.org/general/centers.html. Locally, there’s the Branch County Coalition against Domestic Violence and their 24-hour help line, 278-SAFE. In addition, the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network is available 24-hours a day anywhere in the U.S. at 1-800-656-HOPE. This network provides confidential counseling and support for survivors of sexual assault.