Sexual Assault Legislation Gets New Life In General Assembly

The proposal would require Indiana study the factors causing the state's high rate of sexual assault.

christina hale

Photo: Bill Shaw

Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis, explains why an amendment that would mandate a study on sexual assault in Indiana should be added to a criminal code bill.

Creation of an extensive study examining Indiana’s high rate of sexual assault was revived in a House committee Wednesday after it failed to pass during the first half of the legislative session.

Centers for Disease Control statistics indicate that one in six girls in Indiana or about 17 percent are raped before they graduate high school.

Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis, authored legislation this session requiring a thorough study of the problem but her bill didn’t get a hearing during the first half of the short session.

Working with Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, Hale got her language amended into Merritt’s Lifeline bill in a House committee. Hale says the study will allow Indiana to take a leading role in confronting the scourge of sexual assault.

“We’re going to do something and we’re going to do it the right way so that we can be efficient with our resources and effective,” she says. “And to be efficient and effective, we have to have a better understanding of the problem.”

Malea Crosby, a survivor of sexual assault, has testified before the legislature on the need for the study. She notes that up to 50 percent of sexual assault incidents are not even reported.

“I didn’t report my crime,” she says. “There are so many reasons why so hopefully we can get a better grasp of why we’re not reporting.  17.3 is really high. I can’t imagine how high it’s going to be when we get those numbers in.”

Merritt’s bill containing Hale’s study was unanimously approved by a House committee. It now heads to the House floor.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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