April is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Now is a good time to focus public attention on the epidemic of sexual violence that plagues our communities. The natural inclination for most of us is to say these problems occur somewhere else, in much larger communities. This type of thinking could not be further from the truth. Sexual assault is a common problem that all police departments in Iowa deal with on a far too regular basis. In 2021, the Marshalltown Police Department investigated seventy crimes related to sexual abuse, exploitation, or sexual violence. Those numbers significantly increased from 2020 when we investigated fifty-six similar cases. So far in 2022, the police department has investigated twenty-seven sexual abuse crimes.
Sexual assaults affect women, children, and men of all racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Rape crisis centers, victim advocacy groups, and law enforcement agencies work diligently to combat the crime of sexual abuse, to help survivors and to try to stop sexual assaults. Unfortunately, resources for these efforts are thin.
Every 73 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Many experts believe that rape and other forms of sexual assault are among the most under reported crimes. In order to stop sexual assault, we all need to work for social change. We all need to be more vocal in our fight against sexual assault and in our support of survivors. When you consider that some studies have shown one in four girls and one in six boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18, it is highly likely someday, someone close to us -- such as our spouse, sister, brother, or even our son or daughter -- will report they have been sexually assaulted.
The Marshalltown Police Department is committed to working with the Marshalltown community and our community partners to combat crimes of sexual violence. If you are a victim of sexual assault, and would like to seek out support services within Marshall County, you can contact the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (ACCESS) sexual abuse crisis line at 800.203.3488. You may also report this crime to your local Marshall County law enforcement agency by calling 641.754.5725 or 911.
Questions may be submitted to Michael W. Tupper, Chief of Police via email at email@example.com or phone by calling 641.754.5771.