sexual assault

university of iowa
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The University of Iowa is rolling out a new plan to combat harassment and sexual violence on campus by expanding education and training for students, faculty and staff and supervisors. The effort draws on a findings from a survey of nearly 7,000 students’ experiences with sexual misconduct.

Derek Jensen

Traffic cameras are getting a red light from Iowa lawmakers as Republicans debate a total ban on automated traffic enforcement devices. During this hour of River to River Ben Kieffer is joined by Senator Brad Zahn, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, and Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department.  We also hear background and an update on an Iowa Supreme Court challenge to traffic camera in eastern Iowa from Gazette reporter Brian Morelli.

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Wikimedia Commons

The State of Iowa asked a Polk County judge Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a former Iowa State University student alleging ISU did not properly investigate her sexual assault complaint.

Iowa Solicitor General Jeffrey Thompson says the lawsuit should be dismissed because the events described fall outside the two-year statute of limitations. The alleged sexual misconduct occurred in 2013.

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Domestic violence usually happens in private. It is unseen and underreported. Helping a loved one in an abusive relationship can be easier said than done. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with guests about this common type of abuse. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in three women and one in four men in the United States have experienced some kind of violence at the hands of an intimate partner.

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Should taxpayer-funded settlements involving sexual harassment allegations against members of Congress be made public? On this politics day edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by political scientists Rachel Caulfield of Drake University and Tracy Osborn of the University of Iowa.

Osborn says what's happening now is an indication of new attitudes.

"It shows a cultural change," Osborn says.

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In response to accusations against Harvey Weinstein, women across the country and many in Iowa have expressed that they have been victims of harassment and assault through the "#me too" posts on social media.  We begin this River to River program with Katryn Duarte, who is Assistant Director of Sexual Assault Services at the University of Iowa's Rape Victim Advocacy Program.

JOHN PEMBLE/IPR FILE

The Iowa Supreme Court says the state of Iowa is not liable for a sexual assault allegedly committed by a man who for years had lived at the state’s Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders, because the assault occurred after William Cubbage was discharged from state custody. 

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Rape Victim Advocacy Program

Iowa organizations that provide services to victims of sexual violence say they face potential funding cuts at the state and federal levels.

A cut to state funding for victim services is being discussed as a way to help make up for a budget deficit. Federal funding decreases may come as part of proposed budget reductions at the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Executive Director Adam Robinson of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) in Iowa City said these cuts would be catastrophic for victim services. 

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The 2005 video showing Donald Trump bragging about groping and making unwanted sexual advances, and the growing number of women accusing Trump of sexual assault, have renewed a national discussion about preventing sexual assault. While addressing sexual assault has become a prominent discussion on college campuses, action on high school campuses has been slower.

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Results from a sexual violence survey of University of Iowa students are guiding administrators in strengthening an anti-violence plan for the Iowa City campus.

Although fewer than ten-percent of the UI’s enrollment responded to the Speak Out Iowa survey in Fall, 2015, administrators say they’re using the results to engage the campus community in creating a safer environment.

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There are more than four thousand untested rape kits awaiting testing in Iowa. The Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division Director Janelle Melohn has been conducting an audit of untested kits since February. 

As of the end of June, we have almost an 80% response rate. We have 381 active law enforcement agencies in our state, and just short of 80% have responded to us. We have just over a total of 4,000 kits that have been inventoried thus far," she says. 

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Sen. Chuck Grassley and a bi-partisan group of senators are calling on Congress to pass legislation that reforms the way sexual assault cases are prosecuted in the military. 

The Military Justice Improvement Act would strip the decision of whether a serious crime goes to trial from the chain of command, and place it with trained military prosecutors.

Grassley says it’s clear the Defense Department can’t be trusted to prosecute cases, in light of new information that shows the Pentagon deceived Congress on how military sexual assaults are handled.

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Iowa State University alum Vanessa McLean first documented her experience with sexual assault in her movie "I Am" in July of last year. Unexpectedly, she says, baring her soul for audiences was a catalyst.

"My healing took off after I was open about my experiences and it's something so powerful about saying that has been on your heart and mind all of your life," she says.

So she expanded her efforts and made a second film, "We Are Survivors," allowing for eight more sexual assault survivors to share their stories.

A jury in northern Iowa has found a former state representative "not guilty" of sexually assaulting his late wife. Prosecutors alleged that Henry Rayhons of Garner had sex with his wife Donna, who wasn’t capable of consent due to her advanced Alzheimer’s disease. 

The jury took nearly two days to deliberate. This verdict ends a trial that has attracted international attention and raised complicated questions about the nature of consent for cognitively impaired adults.

Flickr / Pennsylvania National Guard

Closing arguments are scheduled today in the sexual assault trial of a former state representative. Henry Rayhons of Garner, Iowa may go to prison for having sex with his wife.

In March 2014 Donna Rayhons and her daughter Linda Dunshee had lunch. Dunshee, who had power of attorney, says her mother acted confused during the meal and had troubled using the restroom. 

Flickr / Hibr

A bill in the Iowa Senate aims to expand the legal protections of domestic violence victims.

Under Iowa criminal law victims of domestic violence in dating relationships only have access to heightened protections if they are living with their abuser. A bill that gives victims access to certain protections, even if they aren't cohabitating, passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee today and will soon come before the entire chamber for a vote.

Sen. Janet Petersen, a Des Moines Democrat, says violence in dating relations can be just as deadly as marital violence.

Bob Mical

The controversy over the retracted Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape of a student identified only as "Jackie" at a fraternity house on the University of Virginia campus has sparked many debates. On this segment of River to River - the lessons learned in journalism, ethics, and the way new media impacts how these stories are told and discussed.