By Patrice Bumstead
General Manager of McKenzie County Media LLC
Last week an article released in multiple newspapers across the state sparked a wave of fear among females and the overall public. The headline “Rape is no longer a crime in North Dakota” was alarming to say the very least.
And while the body of the article had some very valid points, most readers did not get past the headline before reacting. I received several messages and calls on the subject, so I felt it was important to clarify a few things.
First and foremost, rape is most certainly a crime in North Dakota. It is categorized along with murder, aggravated assault and burglary as a Violent Crime. And every sexual assault committed that is reported, is taken very serious by law enforcement agencies.
One of the topics I felt was important was the lack of reporting. According to the columnist last week 20 percent of victims of a sex crime do not report the assault for fear of retaliation and another 13 percent do not report for fear that law enforcement will not act. Either way, fear is at the heart of it.
Understandably so. Sex crimes happen every day in America and the devastation that those crimes create is immeasurable. What steps can each community take to ensure that there are resources available for victims that ensure their privacy while also helping them to feel safe throughout the process of prosecuting their attacker?