A sexual assault at Chicago’s DePaul University last month received much publicity, but an advocacy group dealt with victims in 11 sex cases that same weekend, says the Chicago Tribune. “What we see in the newspaper or on television–it doesn’t match what we see as service providers,” said Angela Exson of Rape Victim Advocates. Rape “happens every single day.” In Chicago last year, sexual assaults were reported to police at an average of more than three a day. Most of those cases never made the news.
Anti-rape activists say the number of rapes in Chicago is higher than police data shows, because most go unreported. “It’s an epidemic,” said Tara Bryant Edwards of Rape Victim Advocates. “It’s an epidemic, and it touches everyone, directly or indirectly.” Police data for 2005 show a total of 1,618 sexual assaults and attempted assaults (including adults and children) in the city, a drop from 1,757 in 2004. Many cases are acquaintance rapes–someone from the neighborhood, an acquaintance of the victim’s family–that don’t warrant a community alert or sketch of a suspect.