Virginia Tech students seek support for campus sexual assault

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A week into the new semester, Virginia Tech junior Tori Walker and sophomore Rebecca House said they received a shocking email.

“It was heartbreaking to read,” Walker said.

“You don’t feel safe after reading an ad like this,” Hussey said. “I’m not safe. I feel that this could be another woman like me. “

On September 2, Virginia Tech police notified the campus community of two sexual assaults, both rape and strangulation.

Police said both incidents occurred at the Creative and Innovation District Living-Learning Community Residence Hall in the 185 block of Kent Street.

One attack took place on Wednesday 24 August and the second on Friday 26 August. In both cases, police said they knew each other and knew each other, and authorities said the perpetrator was a Virginia Tech student.

Police said the incidents met the elements of rape as defined in Code of Virginia 18.2-61 and strangulation as defined in § 18.2-52.6.

Sexual assault is a reality across the country. Studies published by the American College Health Association show that more than 50% of college sexual assaults occur between August and November.

This week, Senator Tim Kaine introduced legislation to address the problem: the Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act, or the SOS Campus Act, which would require every college and university that receives federal funding to have an independent campus sexual assault prevention and advocate. Response.

The SOS Campus Act requires the Independent Advocate to conduct public information campaigns about sexual assault prevention and to provide sexual assault survivors with access to:

  • Emergency and medical care,

  • Guidelines for reporting assaults to law enforcement;

  • medical forensic or evidentiary tests;

  • Emergency intervention, ongoing counseling and assistance in the process;

  • Information about their legal rights.

In response to the recent attack, Virginia Tech University officials gave a statement to 10 News in part:

“Timely access to critical campus crime and safety information for students and staff is just one example of how Virginia Tech is working to strengthen safety and security for all who study and work at the university. It is required under the Clery Act. Read more about our work to build a culture of safety, awareness and support.”

Still, House wants more clarity.

We ourselves are not well informed about how to avoid such situations. We are not given any statistics. We were given nothing more than the bare basics of what happened,” Hazi said.

Walker said more needs to be done to support survivors and raise awareness.

“I’ve actually had personal experience with this and despite all these resources, I really think it’s a very unfortunate incident. And it stays with you for a long time even when you are talking to people. And if you don’t stop pressing charges, you’re going to be pissed because you’re never really going to get that closure.” Walker said.

Copyright 2022 by WSLS 10 – All Rights Reserved.

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