Police are investigating a sexual assault that was reported downtown early Sunday morning.
According to a police report, a 20-year-old female was walking home around 2:10 a.m. when she was assaulted on the 400 block of North Henry Street in a dark alleyway.
The suspect is described as male, five-foot-six inches tall and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
Sgt. Dave Samson could not provide the details of the investigation, including whether or not the victim was a UW student.
Ally Cruickshank, chair of Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment at the University of Wisconsin, said 60 percent of sexual assaults go unreported.
“People are kind of scared because there isn’t always a positive response from the police,” Cruickshank said.
While a police investigation is ongoing in this case, Cruickshank said out of all the assaults that get reported, only about 6 percent of cases end with the perpetrator getting sentenced.
Data collection is very difficult if the victim waits to report an incident and go in for testing after he or she has already showered, Cruickshank said.
Cruickshank said there are a number of services offered to victims including those offered by University Health Services, such as counseling and programs on gender, sexuality and dating violence.
The problem is more complicated than people think, Cruickshank said, and even when people take the necessary precautions to avoid being victimized, sexual violence still occurs.
“It’s not possible to do everything on the list,” Cruickshank said. “How do we get to the roots of sexual violence? … Obviously, we need to make a bigger change.”
PAVE is one of the organizations on campus that works to educate students about sexual assault and dating violence.
“A lot of people who volunteer are survivors or victims of sexual assault,” Cruickshank said.
Cruickshank added the majority of crimes of sexual violence are cases where the victim knows the perpetrator.
Victims are often blamed for these sorts of crimes because there always seems to be “something you could have done or should have done,” Cruickshank said, adding she hopes people do not blame the victim in this case.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Madison area Crimestoppers at (608) 266-6014.