Rape has one of the lowest reporting rates of any crime — only 16 to 28 percent of victims file reports with the police, according to the National Victim Center and the Department of Justice.
Statistics from Middle Way House's Rape Crisis Center report that since August 2005, 16 IU students reported sexual assaults to the police. If the percentage of unreported assaults is applied to this number, between 57 and 100 students have been assaulted since the beginning of the school year.
On Thursday, April 20, 100 IU students will hold a demonstration outside Woodburn Hall representing the number of student victims sexually assaulted at IU Bloomington since August 2005.
Before Colleen O'Rourke graduated from IU last May, she involved herself in service work through the Community Outreach and Partnerships in Service Learning (COPSL), which organizes service-learning projects for the Bloomington community by working with the university.
"After moving to Bloomington, I felt it was important to establish myself as a community member," says the 22-year-old Evansville native, who attended the University of Texas before transferring to IU.
COPSL gave O'Rourke the chance to get involved and encourage others to volunteer as well, she says. Its mission is to foster student volunteerism as a way to increase awareness of social issues. The organization works with such non-profits as Boxcar Books, the Shalom Community Center, and the Banneker Community Center.
Thirty-three years ago the Supreme Court upheld a woman's right to choose in the landmark case Roe v. Wade. At that point, many believed that those of us born after Jan. 22, 1973, would never have to experience the horror of unsafe back-alley abortions. Yet, the fear is still alive.
A Rally for Women's Lives was held on Sunday, Jan. 22, to honor and support Roe. About 150 people attended the rally at City Hall, where representatives from the community, university, and local government spoke. Each speaker shared a different perspective. Mayor Mark Kruzan and City Council member Andy Ruff spoke about the importance of privacy, while Alisa Brown from the Democratic Women's Caucus and State Senator Vi Simpson shared personal stories.
As a representative of the student population and president of the IU Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, I spoke as well, targeting specifically those born after Roe. Our rights are at stake, and unfortunately most of us are unaware of the rights we are likely to lose.
The Bloomington community is full of social service agencies that are ready and willing to help those in need. But finding the best agency when seeking help can be an overwhelming task.
Safety~Net, a new community newspaper, is improving the search process by disseminating information from a variety of local social service organizations about their programs and how to access them.
The idea to create Safety~Net began with Shalom Community Center Executive Director Joel Rekas.
"It's really a collaboration of ideas from many people," Rekas says. "It really came about as a result of conversations regarding the fact that issues around social justice and poverty tend to be second tier issues in the media."