Sexual Assaults Up, Reports

If you approach someone at random, you would find, one in three women or girls is a victim of sexual violence. Go up to a man or a boy, and one in seven is a victim.

Julie: "Do you know someone who's ever been sexually assaulted?"

Laura Beebe, of Tyler: "Yes, someone close to me."

"About four," another woman said, referring to the number of sexual assault victims she knows.

"Most sexual assaults are still committed by an acquaintance," Joan Ford, sexual assault program coordinator for the East Texas Crisis Center, said.

The center takes hundreds of calls each year through its sexual assault hotline. And the numbers go up every year.

Just yesterday, Tyler hospitals referred four sexual assault victims to the East Texas Crisis Center. But only one in 20 victims ever tell authorities. So there could have been dozens of sexual assaults that no one even knows about.

The ones that want justice usually go to the hospital for treatment.

"Most of our patients that come in definitely want -- they've been victimized -- they want to do something about it," Angela Cabaniss, R.N., a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at ETMC, said. "They want to prosecute that individual."

That process starts with a sexual assault kit to collect evidence.

At ETMC-Tyler, last year, 34 victims reported sexual assault. This year already, there have been 55 -- again, mostly assaulted by someone they know.

"No matter whether we know them or not, they need to be aware that unfortunately, there are people out there like that who do those kinds of things."

And the victims are male, female, young, and old.

Julie Tam, reporting.