Crime alert: Sexual assault reported
April 18, 2019
On April 18, the Virginia Tech Police Department received a report of a sexual assault that occurred in Pritchard Hall, 630 Washington Street SW, during the fall 2018 semester. The survivor is a Virginia Tech student, but the affiliation of the offender is unknown; the survivor and the suspect were not acquaintances.
This information is being released in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, commonly known as the Clery Act. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses, including timely warnings of crimes that may represent a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of students or employees.
The Virginia Tech Police Department reminds all community members of the following information about sexual assault. Note that this information is general in nature and does not necessarily relate to any specific incident:
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 Hokie Handbook 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 Consent can be withdrawn at any time.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".
The most common type of sexual assault is not by a stranger but by someone the survivor knows, typically a date or acquaintance.
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.
According to many published reports, any college community member might become the target of a sexual assault regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
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: 540-231-7806
- 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
If you report a sexual assault that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus, Virginia Tech Police will investigate, provide assistance, and offer related services to support your safety and well-being. If the crime occurred in another jurisdiction, Virginia Tech Police will assist you in accessing assistance in that jurisdiction.
The Virginia Tech Police Department offers a range of personal safety programs, including Rape Aggression Defense courses. For more information visit police.vt.edu/programs-training/rad.html.