Sexual Assaults Frequent in Amarillo

35 percent of males say they would commit rape if they knew they would not get caught.  That, according to an anonymous survey by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault .

Family Support Services in Amarillo says the city's rape rate was 30 percent higher in 2007 than it was the year before.  But that does not necessarily mean there are more rapes.  It could have to do with how they are reported.

The Amarillo Police Department calls it incident based reporting.  Cpl. Jerry Neufeld says when a break-in is reported, if an assault took place at that break-in, the police would report two incidents as opposed to the one event.

In 2007, 438 sexual assault exams were conducted in Amarillo.  But La Viza Hollingsworth of Family Support Services says 347 of those were on children under the age of 18.

The FBI says Amarillo's rape rate is about 1.5 times higher than the national average.  In fact, Amarillo has the highest rate per capita of sexual assault against women and children.

But Hollingsworth says in the last couple of years, more awareness has been raised.  She says that is a good sign.  She says "you do have to talk about it. You do have to get counseling, and it's ok to go to the police."

Hollingsworth says through counseling and saying out loud that it happened, victims can be helped.

She also points out that the typical rapist is not some guy hiding in the bushes waiting to attack you as you pass by.  In fact, those who are sexually assaulted are most often victimized by someone they know, more specifically, someone they live with