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

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RALEIGH — Every day agencies help rape victims dealwith the complicated issue of whether to report this violent crime. Bogusaccusations like the ones against Erik Williams and Michael Irvin make thedecision tougher.

Amy Holloway said that it only takes one false accusation todelegitimize 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 thefinger at celebrities from fans that refuse to believe any guilt.

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

Raleigh Police Lieutenant Mike Murray emphasized the importance ofprotecting 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 investigationbefore dropping a case.

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

Amanda Lambreporting.

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