TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Sexual assault may be so common on college campuses that one infive women may be victimized by the time they graduate. Victimadvocates say there's no reason to think Indiana State Universityis any different.
"You probably do know someone who has been assaulted," saidIndiana State Outreach Educator Aimee Janssen-Robinson.
A nationwide study reports almost five percent of college womenare victims of sexual assault each year, but fewer than fivepercent are ever reported to authorities.
"It's accurate," said Janssen-Robinson. "Unfortunately, it isaccurate."
Which means Gwen's story from "Walking Alone" Part One is notall that unique.
Nine out of ten suspects are known to the victim. But it'ssecurity features such as blue lights that students and parentslook for when they think about campus safety.
"We never really know what we prevent," said ISU Police ChiefBill Mercier. "We'll never know."
What they do know is only what's reported. Mercier highlightsthe blue light system and having three officers on duty at alltimes.
"I think ISU is a very safe campus," said Mercier. "We comparewell to our peer institutions."
Peer institutions that include the other schools in the MissouriValley athletics conference. In 2008, ISU reported seven assaults.That ties for the highest among the 10 member schools along withMissouri State. Six schools reported between zero to two sexoffenses.
ISU is working to improve their policies on sexual assaults andmake them more accessible to students.
Janssen-Robinson hopes their numbers go up. Not because thereare more sexual assaults but because more victims are willing tocome forward.
She hopes events like "No Woman Left Behind" or "Take Back theNight Rallies" take away some of the stigma. She also hopes moreeducation, even of male students, can help prevent futureassaults.
"The only thing that's going to help change the culture of anycampus, not just ISU, is continuing the conversation that startsafter a Take Back the Night Rally, or after the No Woman LeftBehind 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 sexualassault, experts say the best thing you can do is to believe themand help them contact a victim's advocate.
Victim advocates can be reached at CODA at (812) 232-1736 or at1-800-566-CODA.
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