Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted and every eight minutes that victim is a child, according to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. People ages 12 to 34 are at the highest risk for rape and sexual assault.
Detective Brendan Gibbs of the New York Police Department said he has investigated 40 to 50 sexual assault cases during his 13 years on the police force. He said the victims have usually ranged in ages from 15 to 17. The victims are mostly Hispanic females who have been assaulted by a relative or a person who is very close to the family, he said.
The MeToo movement, which was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke to help encourage women to go public about being sexually assaulted, has gained momentum due to the scandal involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the use of #MeToo.
Though this movement has gained momentum, Gibbs said he has not seen a correlated increase in the number of sexual assault reports he’s received.
“In my experience, since the #MeToo movement, we haven’t seen any increase in reported sexual assault cases,” Gibbs said. “I believe this may be [because] the immediate area … I work in is outside of the entertainment industry.”
To investigate and work with sexual assault victims, police must complete a basic six-month training program at the police academy. Gibbs said that when you are promoted to detective, you must go through another four weeks of training and are sent to review certain skills that you learned over the years.
Gibbs added that if police feel that complaints or crimes are worth looking into, they report them to the sex crimes division, which handles such allegations in the NYPD.
Antonio Rendón is a junior at Achievement First Hartford High School.