In the wake of a Feb. 8 sexual assault, the Student Association and University Police Department discussed rape prevention tips for students during a University Campus Safety Forum in the Marvin Center Wednesday night.
The majority-female audience expressed safety concerns surrounding the crime at the nearby Potomac Park apartment building. The suspect is still at large.
The officers stressed the importance of reporting crimes to protect other possible victims in the community.
“If you get out of a rape situation, you’re not a victim but a survivor,” Anderton said.
UPD officers Susan Anderton and Bob Thompson told students to check officers’ commission or a maintenance staffer’s credentials before opening a door. They also recommended keeping doors closed and locked, creating clear communication between two parties in a relationship, keeping distance between pedestrians and staying close to main streets when walking past doorways and alleys.
Thompson said one out of every three women in the United States is raped in her lifetime. He also said the District’s Anti-Sexual Abuse Act of 1994 replaced the vague wording of past sexual abuse law and clarified definitions of rape of males by women, improving responses to sexual assault.
Undergraduate Sen. Alexis Rice (CSAS), safety forum coordinator, also spoke to students about the SA Security Advisory Committee. The committee has two members but needs more support, Rice said.
Students asked if police patrols would be increased in response to the sexual assault. But Anderton said patrolling has been maintained at the same level around the 21st Street building where the incident occurred.
Students said UPD’s escort service is another campus security concern because it often requires long waits.
Students were advised by officers to write letters of concern to UPD Associate Director Anthony RoccoGrande, and females were encouraged to enroll in a University-sponsored self-defense class.
“The class teaches more than just fighting off an attacker, it helps women build confidence and be more aware of their surroundings,” Thompson said.
For more information about the six-session Rape Aggression Defense program call 994-6994.