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Girls At High Risk Of Sexual Assault: WTIU Airs Documentary Tonight

Last updated on Thursday, February 28, 2013

(UNDATED) - Troubling statistics reveal that 17 percent of high-school-aged girls in Indiana have been forced to have sex against their will, most often by a family member or trusted adult.

Laura Lane of the Herald-Times reports that the Hoosier state ranks second in the nation when measuring the rate of sexual assault against girls, behind only Wyoming. The national rate is 10.5 percent.

"Shadows of Innocence," a WTIU-produced documentary airing Thursday at 8 pm, attempts to explain why Indiana girls are at such risk, and what is being done to lessen the number of girls sexually assaulted as teens, often left scarred for life. After the show, experts will participate in a live roundtable discussion featuring questions from Indiana high school students.

The WTIU film features four rape victims: two women who are now adults working to help other sexual assault victims, an author and a girl whose face is in shadows as she relates being raped by her older brothers and the inner conflict it brought.

Jonathan Plucker, former director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, was shocked when he analyzed data focused on sexual violence and prevention efforts in Indiana.

Plucker, who has since left IU, is featured in the video, saying the message about the sexual abuse of young women in Indiana must be spread far and wide, "so that everyone is so uncomfortable" that steps will be taken to change the trend.

The reality in Indiana, he said, "is massively and horrifically worse than we ever thought it was."

Rates in nearby states are lower. Kentucky is 13.6 percent, Michigan and Tennessee, 12.8, and Illinois, 10.8.

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