Rape Crisis Center cautions to avoid victim blaming in light of assaults on men downtown

First At Four: Rape Crisis Center cautions community to avoid victim blaming following series of assaults on men in downtown Wilmington

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The investigation into a series of assaults targeting men in Wilmington continues with no arrests made yet in the cases.

In an interview earlier this month, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said investigators found a possible link between eleven assaults since January 2018. Four of the victims may have been sexually assaulted.

Chelsea Croom, the supervisor of the Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons, said in light of the attacks, she wanted to remind the community to avoid victim blaming and, instead, focus on sexual assault prevention.

“Victim blaming is a huge problem that affects victims of crime every day,” she said. “It is the attitude that suggests the victim bears responsibility for the crime committed against them and not the perpetrator. This idea is perpetuated when we allow conversations about rape and sexual assault to center around the victim and the part they played in the assault, instead of the fault of the perpetrator.”

She defined victim blaming as when people assign fault or blame to someone who has had a crime committed against them.

Police said the investigation into the assaults in downtown Wilmington revealed all of the victims have no memory of what happened to them; however, detectives aren’t sure if it is because of alcohol or if the victims were drugged.

Croom stressed the assaults are not the fault of the victims; the perpetrator is the one to blame.

Several of the victims are members of the military, according to police.

“Sexual violence can be experienced by anyone, no matter race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, etc," said Croom. "One in three women and one in four men have experienced or will experience some type of unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, the Rape Crisis Center has a crisis line that can be reached at (910) 392-7460.

More information is available here.

A resource for male survivors can be found here and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center has more information for all survivors here.

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