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April 07, 2017 05:00 PM

South Dakota Ranks Second In Sexual Assaults & Rape Cases

Sioux Falls, SD

Sexual assaults occur in South Dakota more often than the rest of the nation. 

The Compass Center released statistics on Friday that show that more rapes occur in South Dakota than any other state in the country other than Alaska.  

Just in Sioux Falls, there were 97 rapes in 2015 and 107 in 2016.  Those numbers are higher than the national average per capita and they don't include incest or statutory rape cases.  

While authorities can't pinpoint a reason, they did say it's up to all of us to change these numbers.  

The number of rape and sexual assault cases in South Dakota maybe alarming to you, but even more shocking, many more go unreported.  

In most cases, the victims know their attackers and don't want to see that person to go to prison. 

Michelle Markgraf of the Compass Center in Sioux Falls joined police to talk about the numbers and how to end the violence. 

"Every person in South Dakota, every person in Sioux Falls needs to be able to stand up and say, 'This isn't OK.  I need to make a difference,'" Markgraf said. 

The Compass Center provides crisis intervention and counseling to domestic violence and sexual assault victims.  

Markgraf says to make a difference, you need to have the strength to say something if you suspect someone has been sexually assaulted.

"That's when bystanders are going to do nothing because everybody thinks everyone else is going to do it.  The fact is, you have to be that person that stands up and says, 'I've got to take care of this.  This is my responsibility to make sure this person stays safe,'" Markgraf said. 

Police say they sometimes don't get reports until days, weeks or even months after the incident. 

"That's when it gets really challenging.  When we have a long gap between when it occurred and when that report is made.  That makes it a little more difficult on our end to try and investigate things," Sioux Falls Police Information Officer Sam Clemens said.   

If you or someone you know is a victim of a sexual assault or rape, there are plenty of resources available to help. 
Click here to contact Compass Center
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