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Houston- At least four women are sexually assaulted in the greater Houston region every day — attacked in their homes and in their beds, in parking lots and on public streets, their assailants armed with pistols, knives, drugs and fast-flying fists.

But of the more than 1,700 cases reported in 2009 alone, only 42 percent resulted in arrests — a rate lower than for murders and other assaults, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis based on FBI reports from police agencies across the eight area counties.

Harris County alone claimed 1,265 sexual assault cases last year.

And though most sexual assaults involve victims who either know or at least recognize their attacker, police estimate about 25 percent are simply random.

One such attack happened to a 19-year-old Houston woman snatched from her southwest Houston apartment complex two days before her high school graduation this year.

Before dinner with a friend at her apartment, she says she walked to a neighborhood store to buy ketchup. When she returned – and as she was opening her security gate – a man approached and put a pointed object in her back.

She thought it was a gun. He forced her into his car, drove 30 minutes away to an apartment complex and raped her. The man threatened to kill her if she tried to get away.

“Every time he stopped at a red light, I wanted to get out of the car, but I didn’t. I don’t know why,” she told the Chronicle.

“It changed the way I looked at men. I can’t trust men at all.”

In that case, a suspect has been charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

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