Iowa’s Coalition Against Sexual Assault today (Tuesday) will release a report on rape in Iowa. Based on figures from the CDC’s National Violence Against Women Center, Coalition director Beth Barnhill says about 12 percent of Iowa women — one in eight — is sexually assaulted. She says one thing’s for certain — the crime is under-reported. She says they used a very narrow criteria, not counting cases that involved non-forcible rape, any facilitated by drugs or alcohol, no attempted or statutory rapes, no assaults on children or males…yet she says it still shows a “very high rate” of rape in Iowa. From talking to police and sexual crisis centers, the coalition knew what the report finds — that young women are most at risk, those between ages 20 and 44. One thing the group hopes to get done this year is remove the statute of limitations on rape charges, and she uses the cases involving the Catholic church to show how it may take years for a victim to feel safe reporting a rape, or be able to understand what happened to them. Barnhill says the coalition also hopes to convince lawmakers to restore funding for the sexual assault crisis centers that support survivors.The state’s funded those centers for 20 years but last year a line-item veto from the Governor removed their funding and the coalition would like it restored.
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