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Chattanooga Police Department encouraging rape victims to come forward

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The Chattanooga Police Department is encouraging rape victims to come forward to properly report possible assaults.

In a recent Facebook post, CPD says that a victim was brave enough to contact the department Saturday and they say were are open for whoever needs their service.

Every 98 seconds another person experiences sexual assault, according to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. One out every six women have been a victim of sexual violence.

Caroline Huffaker with the Chattanooga Police Department says that number would double if all rapes were reported to police.

She tells us there are several reasons why people choose not to come forward with an assault.

LEARN MORE | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

“A fear of not being believed, maybe not knowing where to go in terms of resources,” said Caroline Huffaker, Victim Services coordinator. “If there were drugs or alcohol involved, maybe they're still trying to put the pieces together.”

Huffaker says we should trust someone when they say they have been a victim of rape because 98% of victims are telling the truth, and only 2% are falsified complaints. 

Many times they are looking for someone they can confide in and help guide them through the process.

“When you just notice that something is different about the people you care about, just be active bystanders, check in on them,” said Caroline Huffaker. “Start by believing, and you can provide them with options for them don't make decisions for them you want to give control back to the survivor.”

Even if the victim is unsure of if they want to file a report, Huffaker says it's best to seek medical attention within four days of the assault to collect evidence.

Then give the police department time to work on the case.

“Justice looks different for everybody, of course here at the Chattanooga Police Department our version of justice is holding offenders accountable and keeping our community safe,” said Caroline Huffaker.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the court system is making progress. However, the statistics are still alarming. Only six out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison.

However, CPD wants to still encourage every victim to file a report. CPD can be reached at (423) 698-2525 or 911 in case of emergency. If you are a victim of sexual assault contacting The Partnership's Crisis Hotline (423) 755-2700 is also an option.

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