NewsHealth / August 20, 2015

Indiana Ranks Second Worst In Rape Of High School Girls, But The Problem Might Even Be Worse

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana’s rate of high school girls who are raped is second worst in the country; and a new study says only about 18 percent of those who are assaulted report it.

About 25 percent of Hoosiers in a CDC survey say they’ve had sexual contact by the time they’re 18, and 85 percent of those say the contact was unwanted.  IUPUI professor John Parrish-Sprowl, who led a study on the underreporting of sexual assault in Indiana, says the vast majority don’t tell a doctor, nurse or health care professional, let alone law enforcement.

“What that would suggest is ... there could be as many as four times more that are not reported,” Parrish-Sprowl said.

He says a major cause is a lack of education – young people aren’t taught what a healthy relationship is.  And he says the state can’t rely on that education to happen solely at home.

“Exclusively family-based solutions would prove inadequate to address the issue because if we wanted to address the issue solely within the family, we would be putting the perpetrators in charge of solving the problem,” Parrish-Sprowl said.

Members of Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children, which reviewed the report Wednesday, say they hope to study the issue further to begin developing solutions.

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