Local News

In Wake of Cowboys Furor, Counselors Fear Rape Victims Might Not Step Forward

Posted January 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Every day agencies help rape victims deal with the complicated issue of whether to report this violent crime. Bogus accusations like the ones against Erik Williams and Michael Irvin make the decision tougher.

Amy Holloway said that it only takes one false accusation to delegitimize the hundreds and thousands of true claims.

There are examples where victims have pointed out celebrities and won. Professional boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in 1989.

But more often, the victim's reputation is put on trial.

Holloway talked about the sacrifice made by victims that point the finger at celebrities from fans that refuse to believe any guilt.

Raleigh police say they know it takes a lot of guts for victims to walk through their door and report a rape case. And they say they want victims to feel comfortable coming forward.

Raleigh Police Lieutenant Mike Murray emphasized the importance of protecting the victim and encouraging the healing process.

Police routinely drop cases which have no basis.

For instance, in 1996, Raleigh police investigated 108 rape cases. Eighteen of those were considered false reports.

Murray said Raleigh police always do a very thorough investigation before dropping a case.

Most of the time, the victim is telling the truth, but advocates like Holloway say that false reporting hurts everyone.

Amanda Lambreporting.