Sexual Assault (Rape)

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How could something like this happen to me?

A sexual battery commonly referred to as rape can happen to anyone. This crime occurs within every segment within our population and does not victimize one specific type of person. Victims range from the elderly woman walking home from the grocery store to the 10-year-old sleeping in the security of her bed at night. Date rape and rape involving the drugging of the victim is more common than most people think. Sexual battery involving teens have also increased over a short period of time and needs to be recognized. If a victim says “no” or is incapacitated and unable to say “no”, you need to report this crime to Law Enforcement. All sexual batteries should to be reported and investigated.

If you believe you are a victim, precious evidence is being lost as you delay your reporting. You need to go to a hospital and contact your local law enforcement authority to have a sexual battery exam completed. Even if you are not sure you want to cooperate with a criminal investigation, have the exam done and you can decide later if you want the incident investigated. A new Florida law allows for the exam to be completed with no questions asked until you are ready to proceed.

Assistance for Sexual Cases

Palm Beach County Victim Services Sexual Assault Unit provides:

  • The Palm Beach County Special Investigations Division commands a team of specially trained detectives specializing in sex related crimes. Their experience and knowledge provides you with the best opportunity to have your case presented before the States Attorney for prosecution.
  • Palm Beach County Victim Services Sexual Assault Unit provides 24 hour assistance to victims of sexual assaults within Palm Beach County. The counselors respond to assist you and act on your behalf in your best interest. They provide services assisting victims with police investigations, medical and legal procedures, crisis intervention, individual counseling, therapy, and support groups.

Myths and Facts

Myth:  Victim was so drunk at a party and passed out she doesn’t remember if she said “no” therefore this case can not be prosecuted.
Fact:  With a proper investigation and the development of Probable Cause, the case will be presented before the State Attorney’s Office to be reviewed for prosecution.

Myth:  The victim is partially to blame for the attack because of the way she dressed or because she was acting flirtatious.
Fact:  No victim asks to be sexually battered and no person deserves to be a victim. There is no correlation between dress, appearance, and age.

Myth:  If I report a crime as a victim and later decide I no longer want to proceed with the investigation / prosecution, I have wasted everyone’s time and can be charged with a crime.
Fact:  While timeliness is very important in investigating these types of crimes, ultimately it is the victim’s decision on whether to proceed with the investigation. As long as the victim did not lie during the investigation, the victim cannot be prosecuted for not cooperating with law enforcement. Cases have been successfully prosecuted that occurred several years prior.