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Recent sexual assault cases could make reporting tougher, advocates say

Posted at 11:47 PM, Mar 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-23 23:47:40-04

Williamsburg, Va. -  A sexual assault counselor says two high profile cases could have an impact on victims coming forward.

On Monday, the chief of Charlottesville police said there was no "substantive basis" to support a UVA's story of rape. In Newport News, police now say a teenager's story about a sexual assault was a lie. 

Juanita Graham, who works to help victims at the Avalon Center, says these stories could make make victims more hesitant to report the crimes to police. Advocates say about two-thirds of sexual assaults go unreported.

"It's a very difficult process to have to go through to put all of that personal business out there in the first place," Graham said.  It can make it tough to report "especially if a survivor feels they're not going to be heard, not going to be believed, or if their case is not going to be carried through."

Graham is worried some victims may see the heavily scrutinized cases and be nervous to report the crimes, but says victims shouldn't compare cases, each one is different.