MADISON, Wis. - A Madison woman was attacked and sexually assaulted Sunday night, according to police.
Madison police said the attack happened at 11 p.m. in the 2200 block of Winnebago Street as the 23-year-old victim was running in the area.
The attacker was described as black man 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, weighing 160-180 pounds with a slender build and short hair. He was wearing a black sleeveless T-shirt and athletic shorts. Police said he is wanted for first degree sexual assault.
Police said the victim suffered head injuries and was taken to a hospital.
"I think stranger assaults are the ones that are most likely to be reported," Dane County Rape Crisis Center executive director Kelly Anderson said. "And I think it's what most people think of when they think about a rape happening in our community. But what we know is somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of sexual assaults are actually committed by somebody who knows their victims."
Anderson said one in every three to four women will be sexually assaulted as an adult, and only 10 percent to 40 percent of sexual assaults are actually reported.
The latest numbers from Madison Police show forcible sexual assaults spiked 24 percent from 2011 to 2012. Anderson said those statistics may not mean more assaults are happening, but perhaps that more people are willing to report them.
"We can track reports. We can try and get a sense of what's going on in the community, but there are communities that report no sexual assaults in a year, and that doesn't mean it's a safe place to live. That means it's a place where no one feels safe coming forward and getting help, and that's really sad," Anderson said.
Anderson said while this victim did nothing wrong, this sexual assault by a stranger is another example that people need to be aware of their surroundings and prepared to be assertive in compromising situations.
"I think it's really that awareness and knowing what the threat really is is power, that denying it and pretending like its not going to happen," Anderson said, "or it only happens to people who are different than me, it only happens to young women, it only happens to women who are drinking, it only happens to women who are out late at night, it only happens in bad neighborhoods. All of those myths combine to keep us less safe because what we're not doing is we're not looking at what the real threat is."
The Rape Crisis Center offers chimera self defense classes and resources for victims of sexual assault. You can call 608-251-7273 (RAPE) for help, or click here for more information.
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