Sumter County has a new rape crisis agency, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands.
"We intervene at an early stage so that the victim gets help now instead of nine or 10 years down the road. If we can keep that from happening, the impact of the trauma is lessened," Executive Director Ginny Waller said.
The YWCA of the Upper Lowlands Inc. no longer offers direct services. It, however, continues to offer sexual assault and prevention education and domestic violence assistance. Victims who call the YWCA will be referred to Sexual Trauma Services, a private, nonprofit agency that has been serving Richland, Lexington and Newberry for a number of years.
Sumter was added to its service area on March 15 and has had seven hospital calls for Sumter since then.
"Last year we served 1,559 victims, and it's estimated that only 16 percent report," Waller said. "About 5,000 were reported for the entire state. People say, 'I don't know anybody who was sexually violated,' and I tell them, 'You do. They've just never shared.'"