Low rape reports at Indiana campuses worrisome for advocates

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - As the world watches the aftermath of the Stanford rape case, some startling numbers are out on rapes reported on college campuses across the country. Several Indiana schools are on the list, but some advocates say the numbers mean more needs to be done here at home.

A Washington Post analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education found the University of Notre Dame tops the list of Indiana schools for the number of rapes reported on campus in 2014. The school saw 15 reports of rape. Ball State University followed with 14 reports of rape and Indiana University Bloomington had 13.

"It says to me that not all cases are being reported. It says to me that people are afraid to come forward and talk about what`s happened to them," said Tracey Horth Krueger, Interim Director for the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault (ICESA).

She said in order to empower victims, campuses must change their cultures.

“There are a lot of initiatives in Indiana that are going on that are very productive and promising in terms of really re-shaping the culture," explained Horth Krueger. "The most important thing is that a university believe the victim. And that they are acting on behalf of the victim."

With so much national attention on the Stanford rape case, Horth Krueger hoped it would serve as an opportunity for colleges and communities to make strides.

"We have to understand what consent means. That is the biggest teachable moment for college campuses and for all of us actually, is what is the definition of consent. And if there`s no consent, there is no sex. Period."

CBS4 reached out to Notre Dame, Ball State, and IU for a response to the rankings.

This is a statement sent to us by Indiana University:

Indiana University remains steadfastly committed to ending sexual assault on its campuses and creating a climate that sends a strong and unmistakable message that any form of sexual misconduct is unacceptable. We will not tolerate sexual violence or other acts of sexual misconduct, and will take action to prevent and address these incidents. We also are continuing to build upon and strengthen our existing efforts to educate members of our campus community on sexual misconduct and gender-related issues, to provide a campus environment where victims of sexual misconduct feel comfortable in reporting their experiences and seeking help, and where all students feel confident that the university will respond promptly and fairly to investigate reports. It’s on all of us at IU to create a safer, more supportive and more inclusive climate for all members of the university community.

The University of Notre Dame sent us this statement:

Sexual assault is a serious issue on college campuses across the nation, and Notre Dame is not immune. It has no place here and will not be tolerated.

The University has instituted a wide array of policies, programs, procedures and prevention efforts to address sexual misconduct of any kind, including bystander training, detailed definitions of consent, timely warnings, the administration of climate surveys, explanations of how to report sexual assault, and resources for medical assistance, counseling and pastoral care.

Sexual assault is known nationally to be an under-reported crime. We expected that our expanded efforts over the past five years to engage openly and honestly with students on this subject would lead to more reports, and that has proven to be true.

Additional information is available at https://titleix.nd.edu/

Ball State University sent this statement:

Ball State University, through the efforts of many, many dedicated students and staff members, is working to create a campus environment in which students respect one another and aim for a goal of ending sexual violence. Through effective policies and widespread publicity, we have created a safe and responsive culture in which students can come forward to report to either confidential or non-confidential campus authorities.  I would echo colleagues from across the country who have correctly noted that a number does not tell the whole story.  A number that seems high does not indicate a dangerous campus and a number that seems low does not suggest a safe one.  It’s time for the national conversation on sexual violence to focus on education from early childhood through college.  We need to change the cultural norms and behaviors that lead to victimization.

Here are a few examples of the programs we offer that speak to our commitment to a safe and responsive campus culture.

  • The Step In. Speak Up. program, designed to educate students about how to respond if they are a witness to a sexual assault, or an attempted sexual assault, was launched on campus in Fall 2014. Since that time, a free app of the same name was created and is available for download on the App Store or Google Play. Each fall since the program’s launch, approximately 3,000 students participate in the campus-wide Step In. Speak Up. pledge day.

  • The total student participation in all programming in 2015-16 was 24,819.  This means many students benefitted from several different programs over the course of the school year.  Between August 2015 and April 2016 approximately 24 programs devoted to sexual assault prevention and awareness were held each month.

  • The Red Zone, a consent awareness classroom-based program, was presented to more than 3,700 students in 2015-16

  • Freshmen and other new students are required to complete Think About It, an online education/awareness program.

  • Partnering for a Safe Campus, an Orientation presentation, was presented to 8,676 new incoming students and parents during 2015-2016.

  • The Affirmative Consent Project gave Ball State a high (strong) rating for our sexual harassment and misconduct policy in 2016.

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