"Culture of silence" around campus sex crimes?

The Penn State scandal has brought to light the issue of campus sexual assault and how, in many cases, such attacks go unreported to law enforcement.

Complete Coverage: The Penn State Scandal

CBS News correspondent Debbye Turner Bell says, when a person experiences a sexual assault on a college campus, they usually turn to campus police for help. But with university reputations on the line, those campus police sometimes put the school before the victim.

Bell shared the story of Laura Dunn, now a thriving first-year law student. But seven years ago, as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, she alleges she was attacked by two male classmates after a night of hard partying.

"I just shut down," Dunn told CBS News. "It took me two days to even cry after it happened, to realize that I had lost something, that something had been taken from me."

It took Dunn nearly two years to report her attack.

"I went to the dean of students at my university and at first, they were very helpful, they were very sympathetic," Dunn recalled. "But the more that I went through the process, the more I realized that they were truly not on my side, they did blame me, and they wanted the problem to go away."

In a statement to CBS News, the University of Wisconsin responded, saying, in part: "We encourage reporting. We publicize the number of reports we receive each year. It is our ultimate goal to create a safe and respectful campus community, free from sexual and dating violence."

Dunn is among the meager five percent of rape victims who report their attack, even though one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college.

Victims advocate Alison Kiss, executive director of Security on Campus, Inc., says high-profile cases like the Penn State sex abuse scandal point to what is called a culture of silence.

She said, "College campuses are not the ivory tower that they're believed to be. ... Very often, rape survivors don't get the justice they deserve."

But for Dunn, the allegations at Penn State are just a painful reminder of what she lived through.

"It made me realize that things still haven't changed," Dunn said. "Universities are still protecting their own. Sports programs are still denying that sometimes their athletes or in this case, their coaches are committing pretty heinous crimes. And it's scary."

Many believe that, all-too-often, colleges are more concerned with their reputations than a victim's justice. And because schools have their own campus security, many crimes are never reported to outside law enforcement.

Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy said, "It's been a huge problem for a very long time. The fact that universities have their own police departments, in a sense, that can provide some degree of protection, of course, but they also provide insulation against real world oversight and accountability for crimes on campus."

Kiss says the Penn State scandal, while tragic, may finally be getting the attention it deserves. Kiss said, "Something I hope to see come out of this is that we'll see some Division I or male athletes stand up and say, 'Hey this isn't right -- this shouldn't be happening and we should be speaking out against this.' But until that happens, I don't think this problem will go away."

Bell added on "The Early Show" that CBS News experts also say that often colleges use time against victims. They will literally "run out the clock," by taking a long time to investigate reports in hopes that the accuser or the accused will either leave the school or graduate. Once that happens, it's not the school's problem anymore, and the issue becomes moot. Bell added, "In fact, in part, that is what happened in Laura Dunn's case."

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