SLED reports show most sexual battery victims in S.C. are teenage girls

Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 9:11 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s newly released 2022 crime report, reveals nearly half of all sexual battery victims in the state were under the age of 18 and of that, nearly nine out of ten of them were girls.

Sexual battery can include three separate offenses, rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object. The key element in these statistics for these sex offenses is the absence of consent.

The report states a victim can’t give consent if they’re under 18 years old or if they’re impaired mentally or physically. These are all elements prosecutors need to have and prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

Organizations like “Pathway to Healing” work with survivors to ensure they are heard and supported. The organization is now working to expand its outreach to schools following the latest information from SLED. Pathways to Healing is one of 15 rape crisis centers in South Carolina and they advocate and support survivors of sexual abuse.

While Pathway to Healing Executive Director Rebecca Loricks said they will continue to expand their outreach to include younger demographics, staff at the organization said they need the entire state to be on board if they’re going to make a real difference in these numbers.

“I don’t think people really realize the magnitude of how this is affecting our young people and children,” Lorick said. “I think a lot of awareness needs to be done surrounding the fact that if you are a child and you are female, you are likely to be assaulted.”

Not only are sex crimes hard to stop in the Grand Strand, but they’re equally as hard to crack down on. Authorities and nonprofits across the state continue to battle this crisis.

“I will say there are a lot that we can’t because of the nature of the case, or the fact that we just don’t have enough evidence to take that case to trial and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Part of my task is breaking that news to victims and their families,” Prosecutor for the 15th Circuit Solicitors Office Leigh Waller said.

If you or someone you know has been affected resources for support and reporting can be found by visiting this website.