A legislative panel heard from several experts about the problem on Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control said just over 17 percent of girls in grades 9 to 12 have reported being raped. The national average is 10.5 percent.
Officials believe the number may be even higher because many victims never speak up.
Some said talking openly about the issue is a good way to make a change. Therapist Malia Crosby, who was sexually assaulted when she was 16, said the lack of public discussion about the issue makes it difficult for a teen to even understand if they were a victim of a sex crime.
“Sometimes sitting in that discomfort, you can make great strides. I think that’s kind of what we’re doing here. This is uncomfortable, but we can do great things from that,” Crosby said.