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The trend leaves untold number of college women feeling betrayed and vulnerable, believing that their allegations are not taken seriously.
The Tribune's findings also raise fresh questions about the way college administrators and law enforcement officials handle the allegations, even as the Obama administration calls attention to the issue with a series of initiatives and investigations aimed at better protecting students from sex crimes.
"What's the point in going to police if they don't do anything about it?
It almost makes me feel worse."Kim Lonsway, director of research for the nonprofit group End Violence Against Women International, worries that low arrest and prosecution rates could discourage future victims from coming forward, leaving them with the impression that reporting a sex crime is pointless and only serves to cause further pain and humiliation."If you're a parent or student looking at those numbers, it suggests rapists can commit their crimes with impunity," she said.
Police declined to press charges against her alleged attacker; the university eventually suspended him for a year.
Though the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights investigated her complaint during the Bush administration and found that the university acted "promptly and appropriately," Janda still left the school rather than share a campus with the man."Part of me wonders why someone would even bother making a report," she said.
It's harder, they said, to convict a clean-cut college student of assaulting a classmate after a night of drinking.The University of Illinois at Chicago noted in a 2010 report to the federal government that "it has been very difficult to get sexual assault cases" prosecuted by the Cook County state's attorney's office.UIC filed the report as part of a federal grant program to reduce dating violence and sexual assaults on college campuses.The Tribune's analysis found that at the six Midwestern universities surveyed, law enforcement made one arrest for about every 14 alleged sex crimes — including rape, attempted rape, sexual battery and sodomy — reported on campus.
The conviction rate of those arrested was 33 percent.Gordon said UIC staff, police and county prosecutors will be undergoing additional advanced training this month on investigating and prosecuting "alcohol-facilitated" sexual assault cases."We're making progress," she said.