Iowa State’s newest report shows forcible sex offenses held steady at 14 from 2013 to 2014, and University of Northern Iowa’s forcible sex offenses increased from 7 in 2013 to 10 last year.
The UI Office of the Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator also saw a notable increase in the number of reports it took last year related to sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence.
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“We are hoping it’s such an underreported crime that more people are coming forward,” said Dave Visin, interim assistant vice president and director of the UI Department of Public Safety.
“We are trying to make a more comfortable environment to report these offenses.” The UI took 17 reports of rape and 59 reports of fondling on campus, up from a 2013 total of 13 forcible sex offenses — a category that was changed in the 2014 reporting year but earlier would have included both rape and fondling reports, Visin said.
Still, Di Carlo said, she’ll feel better when she sees results from a first-of-its-kind climate survey that will be distributed to all UI students later this month or in early November.
That survey, which will be conducted online, will ask students to share anonymously about their experiences while enrolled at the university.
It also can take reports related to incidents that occurred off campus or even before a student enrolled, Di Carlo said.
“That number could include people who were sexually assaulted in high school but both parties are now on campus and the survivor reaches out for help,” Di Carlo said.
At UNI, Helen Haire, chief of the institution’s public safety department, said she, too, credits a bump in reporting to the increase there.
“I would like to think we have developed a community where people are more likely to report and feel more comfortable reporting, which is what we want so that we can get them the help that they need,” Haire said.
It transformed him from an outgoing, sociable jock into an introvert who has trouble trusting people, his mother says. "I got a lot more fear in me, I mean, because anything could happen," Blackman said.
"He's not the same," said Mary Duval, a straight-talker who has become a full-time activist to reform sex offender legislation since her son's conviction. "Say you're on the registry, and you're in the mall and a kid comes up missing. You're the first person they're going to because you're on the sex offender registry." Blackman lived with the "sex offender" label for nearly four years, until a law that took effect in Oklahoma in November removed his name from the registry.
Still, she added, the goal is to get that number to zero.