WT suspends sexual assault investigation, offers more resources - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

WT suspends sexual assault investigation, offers more resources

Source:KFDA Source:KFDA
CANYON, TX (KFDA) -

The halt of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on WT's campus has campus law enforcement frustrated.

We've seen the headlines across the country, as sexual assaults on college campuses have been in the spotlight. And WT is working to make sure they stay out of that light as much as possible.

The West Texas A and M Police Department has been forced to suspend the investigation into an alleged on-campus sexual assault.

Why?

It was reported by a third party. And the alleged victim does not want to cooperate with authorities to pursue the case.

"You can't make people want to do that," says WT criminal investigator Barbara Ferrara. "They either do or they don't and you know, some people will decide not to and change their mind later and if that happens and she changes her mind, then we'll be there to start it right back up again."

In the mean time, they have provided the alleged victim with the resources and information she may need.

But what campus officials are most concerned about is how often situations like these are occurring, and going unreported.

"It's frustrating because we want them to report and I think there are a lot of components to that," says Ferrara. "Victim blaming is a huge factor in why victims don't want to go through that process. No offense, but not only through the media, but through other students...social media is huge with that because they have that level of being anonymous and they'll post whatever."

The campus does have many resources for all students. In fact, the college has started a sexual assault response team with support from the entire community.

And tomorrow evening, they are holding a presentation to raise awareness about sexual assault and to provide plenty of information on the subject.

"I'm hoping that you would take away, not to buy into that rape culture, the stereotypes, the victim blaming, the things that discourage people from reporting because we're trying to do the opposite. We want people to come forward and report when this happens. We know that perpetrators that do it once, especially if they don't get caught are very likely to do it again and we don't want that."

The event will be happening at 7 tomorrow evening in the Alumni Banquet Hall with guest speaker Kylie Angell, who while at the University of Connecticut was raped and sexually assaulted by friends. 

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