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Anonymous Survey May Shed Light On Campus Sexual Assaults

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An anonymous survey on all Maryland colleges may give police a better idea of how many students are being sexually assaulted on campus. It’s what one state lawmaker wants in his proposed bill.

Gigi Barnett has more.

Nearly one in five college women are sexually assaulted on or near university campuses nationwide and right here in Maryland.

It happened to Lauren Redding when she was a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park and to Laura Dunn when she was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin.

“When I was intoxicated, they walked me to an off-campus apartment and took turns assaulting me,” Dunn said.

Both women reported it, but they know other victims aren’t coming forward. They’re backing a bill by Delegate Jon Cardin that would require all Maryland colleges and universities to hand out anonymous surveys to students asking them if they’ve ever been sexually assaulted.

“Oftentimes, people fail to report or they under-report because they’re afraid they’re going to be considered at fault for being attacked or assaulted or raped,” said Cardin. “That’s unacceptable.”

Several state universities say Cardin’s bill is overkill, that they already have a reporting system on campus and they want to focus on prevention.

“We want our colleges and universities to do that but we also need to be realistic about whether their prevention is actually effective,” said Cardin.

Dunn and Redding believe more victims reporting crimes would flush even more resources to college students, which could change the culture on campus.

If Cardin’s bill passes, Maryland will be the only state to require colleges to publicly report rapes on campuses.

Experts say only about one in eight rape victims report it.

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