Last week, we told you about a man who was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two women. According to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, rape cases were up about 47 percent last year.
The Sheriff’s Office says one reason why this could be the case is because of victims who never report the crime which can lead to repeat offenders. Investigator Michael Wilson says it takes some victims time to come forward, and when they do some feel they have no evidence left on their body.
Denise Atkinson says she has given exams to people who have been sexually assaulted for over 20 years.
“Any evidence that's on the person as the result of the assault were going to try to take off. That might include head hair, pubic hair, vaginal swabbings, oral swabbings, skin swabbings,” says Atkinson.
While exams are a step towards seeking justice, Atkinson says it can be difficult for sexual-assault victims to immediately come forward.
“Sometimes people just need the ability to process what happened to get the courage,” says Atkinson.
She says by the time some victims are ready to talk about it or be examined, they think it is too late.
"'Cause you'll hear things said on TV as far as it’s been three days and there’s nothing to collect,” says Atkinson.
But she says that is not true.
“If you’ve been assaulted, regardless of the amount of time, call us let us talk to you let us give you your options,” says Atkinson.
Atkinson says regardless of whether you shower or wait a few days, they can still find evidence in an exam.
So we verified that no, rape victims do not have to get examined immediately.
Atkinson says there is no real number on how many days a victim can wait to get examined.
“We don’t want to put any number on it because it’s so individual depending on the person,” says Atkinson.
Even if there is no evidence left on the victim’s body, Wilson says coming forward still gives them an opportunity to look for other evidence that could support a case.
“The sooner it's reported the better, but just because you wait a couple of days or longer, it doesn’t mean we can’t help you,” says Wilson.