Huntsville Police are investigating a reported rape at a party over the weekend.
Investigators said a 15-year-old girl claimed an older teen raped her at a party on Garth Road August 27th in southeast Huntsville.
Police aren't releasing any further information on the investigation at this time, but WAFF 48 News spoke to a crisis counselor about how parents can talk to their teens about such a sensitive subject.
Parents of victims need to stress that the assault was not their child's fault, no matter the circumstances. The development director of Crisis Services of North Alabama (CSNA) said society's tendency to blame the victim keeps many people silent.
"Instead of the perpetrator being tried, we try the victim. We bring up past behaviors and what they did wrong and this kind of thing. We blur the fact, at least in my mind, we blur the fact that the people that should be held accountable are the perpetrators," said Bill Farris.
Rape remains one of the most underreported crimes. Farris and the staff of Crisis Services want to end that stigma, because silence leads to repeat attacks.
"We're not going to get the perpetrator off of the street if the victim doesn't report. He's free to go on his way and attack someone else," he said.
Huntsville Police spokesman Harry Hobbs said reporting the crime quickly will help build the case against a rapist.
"Get to a hospital. Let the doctors see you as soon as possible because that first evidence is crucial to any case," Hobbs said.
Last year, CSNA treated 127 rape victims, just in Madison County. Of those, nearly 80 percent knew their attacker.
"They frequent parties and other places where people are going to be in vulnerable situations. They often use drugs to assist them. Alcohol is probably the number one date rape drug in the world," said Farris.
Police aren't saying if alcohol or drugs were involved in Friday night's assault of a 15-year-old at a house party. But officers said the teen identified her attacker as a 17-year-old boy who was at the party.
If you are ever a victim of rape, you can call Crisis Services of North Alabama's 24-hour crisis line to speak to a trained counselor who can offer support and resources at (256) 716-1000 or toll-free at 1-800-691-8426.