BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR)– Virginia Tech Police released the latest reports of sexual violence that happened at a residence hall, on campus back in August.
Both Virginia Tech officials and the United Feminist Movement weighed in on how sexual assault is dealt with on campus.
Campus spokesperson Mark Owczarski says reporting the crime is solely up to the victim.
“It’s going to be unique to the victim, and so people will seek help in ways when they are ready, when they are able, and when they are informed,” said Owczarski.
He says it can take anywhere from a day, to up to 6 months until a victim is ready to report it. In some instances, he says the crime is sometimes never reported.
When it is reported, Owczarski says, “The Clery Act” requires them to notify the entire campus.
“We send out campus-wide emails to everybody when these events occur so that we can make people aware of the crime that has occurred,” said Owczarski.
But–that’s not all.
He says Virginia Tech wants to be there to be able to help that person wherever they may be in a manner that is most effective for them.
However, for students like Caroline Bell– who fights back against sexual assaults on campus and is the President of the United Feminist Movement — “The Clery Act” emails are not enough.
“I would personally really like to see administrators talk about what is going on and kind of be there for the community when we get these emails, because again, they are very triggering and very very sad, and we know that a survivor’s life has been changed,” said Bell.
She believes those emails are not effective in stopping the violence on campus, because it continues to happen.
“We know the university has started some initiatives, but again, they are not up to our standards. We think our students and our community member deserve so much better,” said Bell.
Nationally, United States Senator, Tim Kaine has introduced “The Survivor Outreach and Support on Campus Act,” which is new legislation to combat sexual assault and violence on all campuses.
He says if passed, every college and university that receives federal funding would be required to have a person specifically dedicated to campus sexual assault prevention and response.
“It’s important with young people — early — to teach them about safe relationship behaviors, and consent, and where to go if you are feeling pressured, where to go if you need help,” said Kaine.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, you can view our list of resources.