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CU dealing with sexual assaults
A recent National Public Radio (NPR) show revealed that universities are not being strict enough when it comes to investigating and incarcerating sexual assault cases. Sexual assaults are the most under reported crime on any campus.
There were four sexual assault cases that were reported to the CU Campus Police that occurred on campus in 2009. However, it's estimated that only one in twenty cases of sexual assault are reported in a year, meaning there were over 80 sexual assaults that actually occurred.
Most perpetrators of assaults are repeat offenders, meaning they have done it before.
The CU Police Department's Public Information Officer, Molly Bosley said, "I understand your confusion in saying a crime has been committed, why aren’t you guys following up on this, but a critical component of understanding the story or understanding the event that happened is getting the information from the victim."
Most victims are reluctant to follow through with a case for many personal reasons. CU's Victim's Assistance Director, Mary Fredrick's said, "Most often people don’t want to report because they are afraid, and they have every right to worry about this…that they may be blamed because we do come from a very victim blaming culture."
In order to prevent other sexual assault, a better support system needs to be in place. CU student Katie Westervelt said, "I think if the CU police and then other organizations gave them that support system and gave them that encouragement to like keep going like you're making a difference with this then I think it would encourage girls to come out more."
While not going so far as to blame victims, CU Police have found that all cases in 2009 share circumstances that can be avoided. "The similarities between them were drugs and alcohol were involved and that the parties knew each other," said Bosley.
The Victim's Assistance office also warns that alcohol is the weapon of choice for persons seeking to take advantage of women. "They come in and they look for the most incapacitated person, and if they don't find an incapacitated person they look for the person who they believe, rightly or wrongly, that they can assist to become incapacitated," said Fredricks.
Fredricks also warns that typically the perpetrator is extremely nice to their victim. It is not the typical scenario where the victim expects a stranger to attack.
Colorado law states that a person who is intoxicated cannot give consent. If a women says no, even once, the sexual assault is considered rape.
If you or someone you know is affected by rape you can visit the Victim Assistance office at Willard 219 or the CU Police Department off of Regent and Colorado Blvd. There are free self defense classes offered at the CU Rec Center to teach women how to stay safe.