The most under-reported crimes in America are rape and sexual assault. In rural communities, people confront several factors that deepen the difficulties of reporting crimes of rape and sexual assault. In the book Unspoken Crimes: Sexual Assault in Rural America, author Dr. Susan Lewis notes that the culture and geography of rural communities can confound the process of reporting. She says advocates in rural areas point to several perceived barriers when people are considering reporting an incident of sexual assault or rape. They include sexual assaults committed by acquaintances, lack of anonymity, the already very low rates of reporting, the seemingly insular culture of small towns and a dearth of services. When it comes to underrepresented and vulnerable populations in such small towns, for example, Jackson’s immigrant and LGBTQ communities, these barriers become extraordinarily pronounced. We invited advocates and educators into the studio to discuss.
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