Sexual assault may be so common on college campuses that one in…
Updated: Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010, 4:31 PM EST
Published : Monday, 22 Feb 2010, 7:29 PM EST
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - More than 150 Indiana State University women may be the victim of a rape or an attempted rape this school year.
That's according to a nationwide study. But in 2009, only two assaults were reported to the ISU Department of Public Safety.
It's a crime that gripped the ISU campus a few months ago. Student Erin Conley claimed she was raped by a stranger in her dorm room.
"Now whoever i pass on campus or wherever i feel like they could attack me too," said Conley at the time.
But it turned out to be a lie. Conley pled guilty to false informing.
However, there are real victims walking the streets and sidewalks of ISU. Just how many real victims may astound you. In a nationwide study funded by the Justice Department, of the 5,500 women at ISU there's perhaps as many as 200 rapes or rape attempts every year. That's enough to fill an entire section of the Hulman center.
ISU graduate student Gwen is not one of the hidden statistics. Almost three years ago, Gwen was sexually assaulted when she was an undergrad student at a university in another state.
"He came up from behind," said Gwen. "I didn't see it until it was too late."
Gwen was in a state of shock for a week. Other side effects have been longer lasting. She still gets nervous sometimes walking by herself at night on campus. She sought out the help and support of her friends and a counselor. Plus she pressed charges against her attacker.
"I wonder how those people who don't report it feel because I reported it and I still feel lonely," said Gwen. "I can't imagine it, not reporting."
Just a few months ago, she found out her attacker had been released from parole, after serving just three months in jail.
"heartbreaking," said Gwen. "It's heartbreaking to know that he was free to do whatever he wanted."
Knowing it's now on his record is what helps her get through the anger and heartbreak. Knowing there are other real victims at Indiana State is what makes her want to share her story.
Gwen asked that we not use her last name because of the stigma still associated with being a survivor of an assault.
In part two, News 10 will take a look at that stigma and all the data to see how I-S-U stacks up nationwide, and what can be done to make it safer.
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