BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech officials issued a crime alert to the Hokie community on Monday after a sexual assault from last fall involving two students was reported to campus police.
According to the statement issued by the university, the Virginia Tech Police Department received a report on Monday, Aug. 9 about a sexual assault that occurred in New Residence Hall East at 590 Washington Street in October 2020.
School officials say the victim and the accused are not only Virginia Tech students, but also acquaintances.
Virginia Tech says this information is being released in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Police and Campus Crime Statistics Act requiring all colleges and universities participating in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on or near campus.
In Monday’s statement, the Virginia Tech Police Department included the following general information about sexual assault, saying that this information does not necessarily related to any specific incident:
The most common type of sexual assault is not by a stranger but by someone the survivor knows, typically a date or acquaintance.
According to many published reports, any college community member might become the target of a sexual assault regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
Survivors of a sexual assault are never responsible for the behavior of the suspect nor the harm done to them by the suspect.
Alcohol and drugs are often used to create vulnerability to sexual assault. Studies of sexual assault incidents show a high correlation between acquaintance rape and drug/alcohol usage. Be alert to people pressuring you or others to use alcohol or other drugs. Be alert to people pressuring you or others to accept either alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks prepared by others. If you do not feel comfortable accepting a drink you did not prepare yourself, do not do so.
If you engage in sexual activity, be sure you understand your partner’s limits, and communicate your own limits clearly. Don’t engage in sexual activities without affirmative consent. The Student Code of Conduct defines consent as “knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. The existence of consent is based on the totality of circumstances, including the context in which the alleged consent occurred. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent and coercion, force, or threat of either party invalidates consent. Consent cannot be given where a person is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol; or where a person has a disability, or is not of legal age to consent as defined by law. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.”
Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy or sense something is wrong, do what you can to get yourself and those who may be with you out of that situation or call for assistance.
Be active in supporting a safe and respectful community. If you see others engaging in disrespectful or inappropriate actions, speak up and get involved, or contact someone else to assist. For more information, visit stopabuse.vt.edu/Get_Involved.html.
Make a plan in advance for a safe means of getting home. Use and encourage others to have a companion or a safe means of getting home, i.e., a trusted friend, taxi, or Safe Ride if available.
If you have imminent concerns for the safety of yourself or others, call the police to ask for assistance.
If you are sexually assaulted, you have several options. Please see related information at stopabuse.vt.edu. The website has guidance for filing anonymous or formal reports. In addition, assistance is available through the following resources:
— Women’s Center at Virginia Tech: 540-231-7806Virginia Tech Crime Alert from Aug. 9, 2021
— Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley: 540-639-1123
— Katie Polidoro: Title IX Coordinator: 540-231-1824
— Cook Counseling Center: 540-231-6557
— Dean of Students Office: 540-231-3787
— Virginia Tech Police Department: 540-382-4343
Officials say that if you report a sexual assault that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus, the Virginia Tech Police Department will investigate, provide assistance, and offer related services to support your safety and well-being. However, if the crime occurred in another jurisdiction, the department will help you access resources in that jurisdiction.
Virginia Tech Police also offer various personal safety programs, such as Rape Aggression Defense for women, Resisting Aggression with Defense for men, and One Love workshop. For more information, visit police.vt.edu.
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