More than 150 Indiana State University women may be the victim …
Updated: Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010, 4:32 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 23 Feb 2010, 6:52 PM EST
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Sexual assault may be so common on college campuses that one in five women may be victimized by the time they graduate. Victim advocates say there's no reason to think Indiana State University is any different.
"You probably do know someone who has been assaulted," said Indiana State Outreach Educator Aimee Janssen-Robinson.
A nationwide study reports almost five percent of college women are victims of sexual assault each year, but fewer than five percent are ever reported to authorities.
"It's accurate," said Janssen-Robinson. "Unfortunately, it is accurate."
Which means Gwen's story from "Walking Alone" Part One is not all that unique.
Nine out of ten suspects are known to the victim. But it's security features such as blue lights that students and parents look for when they think about campus safety.
"We never really know what we prevent," said ISU Police Chief Bill Mercier. "We'll never know."
What they do know is only what's reported. Mercier highlights the blue light system and having three officers on duty at all times.
"I think ISU is a very safe campus," said Mercier. "We compare well to our peer institutions."
Peer institutions that include the other schools in the Missouri Valley athletics conference. In 2008, ISU reported seven assaults. That ties for the highest among the 10 member schools along with Missouri State. Six schools reported between zero to two sex offenses.
ISU is working to improve their policies on sexual assaults and make them more accessible to students.
Janssen-Robinson hopes their numbers go up. Not because there are more sexual assaults but because more victims are willing to come forward.
She hopes events like "No Woman Left Behind" or "Take Back the Night Rallies" take away some of the stigma. She also hopes more education, even of male students, can help prevent future assaults.
"The only thing that's going to help change the culture of any campus, not just ISU, is continuing the conversation that starts after a Take Back the Night Rally, or after the No Woman Left Behind Rally," said Gwen.
The "No Woman Left Behind event" is planned for April 22. The "Take Back the Night Rally" takes place every fall.
If someone shares with you they have been the victim of a sexual assault, experts say the best thing you can do is to believe them and help them contact a victim's advocate.
Victim advocates can be reached at CODA at (812) 232-1736 or at 1-800-566-CODA.
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