Public Safety and Emergency Management is investigating a third reported sexual assault of a Murray State student this fall, after an incident occurring Oct. 9 at 8:11 p.m. at Regents Residential College.
No arrests have been made as of Thursday, according to Roy Dunaway, interim chief of Public Safety. The victim knew the alleged assailant, according to a campuswide email.
The email, which was sent Oct. 10, is in compliance with the “Timely Notice” provisions of the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998.
In the first eight weeks of this semester, Public Safety received more reported sexual assaults than in all of 2011 or 2012 and the same amount as 2013.
Dunaway said he hopes the increase in numbers is because students feel comfortable with reporting these events.
On Sept. 3, a caller from Hester Residential College informed Public Safety of a Murray State student who was sexually assaulted off campus. The incident was investigated by the Mayfield Police Department.
On Sept. 12 at 11:57 a.m., a report of “unwanted sexual contact with an acquaintance” was reported to Public Safety. The incident occurred Aug. 29 at Regents.
A “Timely Warning” was not sent since the incident occurred 14 days before it was reported.
The case was closed since the victim declined prosecution.
Nationally, it is estimated that 60 percent of sexual assaults in the last year went unreported, according to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Out of the 40 percent of assaults reported to police, 10 percent led to an arrest, 8 percent led to prosecution and 4 percent lead to a felony conviction. Just 3 percent of offenders will see jail time, according to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network.
Camisha Duffy, executive director of equal opportunity and Title IX coordinator, said nationwide few incidents are carried out to the point of conviction because of the amount of fear involved.
“The fear in this is monumental,” she said.
Duffy said sometimes there is a problem with having a clear understanding of what consent is.
“That was one of the purposes of the module on Canvas. We are an institution of higher education. We need to educate students on these important issues,” she said.
The Harassment Prevention Training course was available for students and faculty until Oct. 3. Participants had to score a 100 percent to pass.
Duffy said there was good participation, but exact numbers were hard to determine due to Canvas restrictions.
President Bob Davies said a challenge regarding sexual assault on campuses is that many incidents go unreported.
“It’s important we have education and it’s important we have the environment that when assaults happen, the victim involved has the safety net to report – the safety net to come forward and feel that justice will move forward and that he or she will be protected through the process,” Davies said.
The email that Public Safety sent out after the most recent incident included tips for victims of a sexual assault. Tips included:
• Call the police, since a crime has been committed.
• Do not bathe, douche or change clothes. You may be destroying legal evidence, regardless of whether you pursue legal action or not.
• Go to a hospital emergency department for medical care. This can be done without police intervention, if that is your choice.
• Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstance of the assault and the identity of your assailant.
The email also suggested how to prevent becoming a victim of sexual assault.
Catherine Sivills, assistant vice president for University Communications, said it is still possible to become a victim of sexual assaults even if precautions are taken.
“You can do everything right and it can still happen; it can have absolutely nothing to do with choices that you personally make,” she said.
To report sexual assaults or suspicious activity, contact Public Safety at 270-809-2222.
WHERE TO TURN
809-3140 – 103C Oakley Applied Science
809-6851 – 104C Oakley Applied Science
809-3809 – 136 Wells Hall
Office of Institutional Diversity,
Equity and Access
809-3155 – 103 Wells Hall
Title IX Coordinator
809-3155 – 103 Wells Hall
Student Affairs Judicial Board
809-6832 – 425 Wells Hall
Murray Police Department
753-1621 – 407 Poplar St.
Calloway County Sheriff’s Office
753-3151 – 701 Olive St.
Purchase Area Sexual Assault Center
National Domestic Violence hotline
Story by Rebecca Walter, News Editor