South Dakota ranks 2nd highest per capita for rapes

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SIOUX FALLS - (KSFY) - On Valentine's Day, the focus is on relationships, but a recent report released by the CDC reveals why healthy relationships are so important.

The study shows the true cost of rape, not just for the victim, but for society as a whole. In South Dakota, that price tag is higher than many other areas.

The FBI's database of crime statistics from 2015 shows South Dakota had the second highest rate of forced rapes per capita in the nation. The rate in Sioux Falls was 65 percent higher than similar sized cities.

"We really don't know the reason why, the numbers we have and get reported to the FBI are from the victims," Officer Sam Clemens, with the Sioux Falls Police Department said.

An estimated 19.3 percent of women and 1.7 percent of men have been raped in their lifetime according to the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"People think, well, this doesn't affect me, or I don't know of anyone who has been raped. But the fact is, it affects society as a whole," Michelle Markgraf, the Executive Director at the Compass Center, said.

In some rape cases, police need to collect bedding or cushions or clothing from the scene. It all needs to be stored and tested to get ready for the trial.

"It affects us for the police who have to investigate the crimes, and for the state's attorney's office, who have to prosecute," Markgraf said.

"When a rape kit is done, it is sent to Pierre right away, " Clemens said. "The state lab is run by the state and taxpayer money supports that."

Police and prosecutors say the time spent on rape cases varies from a few hours to months depending on the case, but most have one similarity.

"Almost always there is some kind of connection where the victim knows the suspect," Clemens said.

That's why advocates say a focus on healthy relationships is a key in preventing rapes.

"When we talk about consenting sex verses rape, it has to be - we always say an enthusiastic yes," Markgraf said.

"May be some situations where there is consent between the two, there's some sexual activity taking place, then one of them doesn't feel comfortable going any further, at that point in time, we'd like to see everything stop," Sam said.

The Compass Center says human trafficking also plays a role in the high number of rapes in South Dakota. The public can help prevent rape in these cases by reaching out to someone who appears to be in an unwanted situation.

The report released by the CDC sights physical and mental healthcare, lost work productivity, criminal justice and property loss or damage as other factors in the $122,461 lifetime cost of every rape.

Apply that to all 25 million reported rape victims in the U.S and the lifetime total cost of rape is $3.1 trillion.