On The Lookout: Defining Sexual Violence - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

On The Lookout: Defining Sexual Violence

Posted: Updated:

WICOMICO CO., Md. - Sexual assault, rape and sexual violence: crimes legally defined as engaging in a sexual act by force or the threat of force.

State's attorney Matt Maciarello says the crime is charged depending on the severity.  Some victims, he says, have been suffocated, even strangled during rape.

"It shocks our communities consciousness," said Maciarello.

Other victims, says Life Crisis Center executive director Michele Hughes, deal with unwanted sexual touching.

"A number of women who have been pinched in elevators, that's sexual violence," says Hughes.

But the pain for the hundreds of victims just in Wicomico County goes beyond the words written in a criminal law book.
     
"They struggle with a self reflection of what they've done that day," said Sgt. David Owens. "Did they do everything that they did to protect themselves?  How are they ever going to get past this?"

In the United States, according to the U.S. Department Of Justice National Crime Victimization Study, a person is sexually assaulted every two minutes. According to Owens, a majority of crimes in Wicomico County are going unreported.

WMDT examined the numbers in 2013.

Life Crisis Center, which offers therapy for Wicomico, Worcester and Somerset counties heard from 366 victims. Peninsula Regional Medical Center treated close to 140 people for sexual assault. But WBI says only 46 cases were reported with 18 arrests.

"When you go through the court process, you have to watch a patient on the stand and have to listen to them talk about what happened to them," said Eunice Esposito, a forensic nurse examiner at PRMC.

"Through the details in front of a filled courtroom and in front of 12-13 people that they don't even know and describe in detail a sexual encounter and explain to these people what happened to them, you can understand why they don't want to report it."

Hughes says unless society changes perceptions of the word rape, many victims will continue to hide and criminals continue to prey.
     
"Without change in our attitude in this country about sexual violence, you're going to have low numbers in reports," said Hughes.

  • Local NewsDelmarva HeadlinesMore>>

  • Felton Man Wanted By Harrington Police On Assault Charges

    Felton Man Wanted By Harrington Police On Assault Charges

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:43 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:43:06 GMT
    HARRINGTON, Del. - Police in Harrington are looking for a man, who reportedly forced his way into a home, and choked the resident. Harrington Police say 44-year-old James Reed, of Felton was involved in a domestic dispute
    More >>
    HARRINGTON, Del. - Police in Harrington are looking for a man, who reportedly forced his way into a home, and choked the resident. Harrington Police say 44-year-old James Reed, of Felton was involved in a domestic dispute with a female, at a home on Dorman Street.
    More >>
  • UPDATE: Nottingham Sentenced To 7 Years For OC Bar Death

    UPDATE: Nottingham Sentenced To 7 Years For OC Bar Death

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:41 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:41:27 GMT
    OCEAN CITY, Md. - The man convicted for killing his friend during a fight outside an Ocean City bar last January, will face 7 years in prison.More >>
    OCEAN CITY, Md. - The man convicted for killing his friend during a fight outside an Ocean City bar last January, will face 7 years in prison.More >>
  • Crews On Scene Of House Fire In Salisbury

    Crews On Scene Of House Fire In Salisbury

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-08-21 17:03:49 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md. - We've confirmed that emergency and fire crews are on the scene of a working house fire on North Division Street in Salisbury. Details are limited at this time.More >>
    SALISBURY, Md. - We've confirmed that emergency and fire crews are on the scene of a working house fire on North Division Street in Salisbury. Details are limited at this time, we'll bring you more information as it becomes available.More >>
  • ContestsMore>>

  • VP Shoes Back to School Contest

    VP Shoes Back to School Contest

    Friday, August 15 2014 12:02 AM EDT2014-08-15 04:02:20 GMT
    Winner announced on WMDT 47 News at 12PM on 8/22/14 No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning dependent on number of entries received. Contest Dates: August 15, 2014 – AugustMore >>
    Winner announced on WMDT 47 News at 12PM on 8/22/14 No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning dependent on number of entries received. Contest Dates: August 15, 2014 – AugustMore >>
  • Teacher Who Makes A Difference

    Teacher Who Makes A Difference

    The WMDT 47 Teachers Who Make a Difference Contest is Sponsored by Accurate Optical: "Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school." Each month weMore >>
    The WMDT 47 "Teachers Who Make a Difference" Sponsored by Accurate Optical Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school.More >>
  • Free Tuition Contest

    Free Tuition Contest

  • Send 47 ABC Your Anonymous Tips

    If you want to remain anonymous, send us your tips here.

    * denotes required fields

    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for the information. We will make sure it gets into the right person's hands.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Authorities Investigating Suspicious Death In Sussex Co.

    Authorities Investigating Suspicious Death In Sussex Co.

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:48:16 GMT
    MILLSBORO, Del. - Delaware State Police now investigating a suspicious death in Millsboro after a body was found in a taxicab in Sussex County.According to reports, a passerby saw the taxi on the shoulderMore >>
    MILLSBORO, Del. - Delaware State Police now investigating a suspicious death in Millsboro after a body was found in a taxicab in Sussex County.According to reports, a passerby saw the taxi on the shoulderMore >>
  • Homeless Sex Offenders

    Homeless Sex Offenders

    DELAWARE - Individuals featured in this slideshow are NOT wanted. They are sex offenders who have registered with Delaware State Police as homeless. These are public notifications.More >>
    DELAWARE - Individuals featured in this slideshow are NOT wanted. They are sex offenders who have registered with Delaware State Police as homeless. These are public notifications.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WMDT. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.