Woman alleges rape in second report of 2003-04 academic year

An Aurora Center official said rape is the most underreported offense.

Koran Addo

University police responded to a report of a rape on Monday.

The victim, a 19-year-old University woman was attacked April 6, but reported it to police on Monday, according to a police report.

This is at least the second reported rape case on campus this year, but officials said the number is probably much higher.

Jill Lipski, a violence prevention education coordinator at the Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education, said victims often do not come forward right away out of fear of their attacker or fear nobody will believe them.

University Deputy Police Chief Steve Johnson declined to comment because he said the case is active and of a particularly sensitive nature.

According to a police report, police questioned the victim and advised her to contact the Aurora Center – instruction that is protocol for sexual assaults on campus.

The center provides crisis intervention and advocacy services to sexual violence victims.

Lipski said a 2001 Boynton Health Service survey reported that more than 1,000 University women are victims of an actual or an attempted rape in a single academic year. Approximately 170 men are victims of the same crime.

Lipski said rape is, overall, the most underreported crime.

“Ninety percent of rape victims know their attacker and less than 5 percent (of rape victims) actually report it to police,” she said.

Lipski said students who are sexually assaulted have several options.

“(Victims) can go to the hospital within 72 hours of the attack for an evidentiary exam,” she said. “It’s free; the bill is picked up by the county.”

DNA evidence is strongest during the first 72 hours, making it easier for a hospital to collect forensic evidence, she said.

In addition, Lipski said, people from the center are available to accompany victims to the

hospital or to complete a police report, which can be done at the police station or the center.

“The most important thing is to let (victims) know they have options,” she said. “We have a 24-hour crisis line people can call, or they can call (the center) just to talk. Sometimes people just want someone to listen.”

Lipski said she would encourage anyone with questions to call the center for information, as April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Police officials said awareness is one of the best tools to help end sexual violence in the University community.

“We need to look at ourselves and our culture to find out what it is that makes victims (of sexual assault) feel they are not supported,” Lipski said.