INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – After five sexual assaults were reported across two Indiana college campuses this week, advocates are encouraging victims to not be afraid to seek help.
Police said one case was reported at Purdue University Friday morning. Police added that three more cases were reported on campus this week, however the incidents occurred last fall.
In Indianapolis, students at Butler University learned a sexual assault happened on campus earlier this week. But officials said in a statement that the victim did not want police, nor the university, to investigate.
Just as each sexual assault case is different, so is the reaction from the victims.
But experts on the crime said whatever victims do next, the key is to remember to remember not to blame themselves for what happened.
The talk around the Purdue University campus is not the topic junior Adam Sommers expected Friday.
“It’s a shock to me ,” he said.
But it’s a conversation he and other students know shouldn’t be silenced.
“It’s something that really needs to be worked on internally for Purdue,” said sophomore Aimee Cooper.
Police said a student was sexually assaulted in Hawkins Hall overnight. That came after three other sexual assaults were reported to police earlier in the week, even though the crimes occurred months earlier.
“It’s a lot for (victims) to deal with but I feel like they should have found someone to talk to about it,” said Sommers.
Speaking up is exactly what advocates of victims suggest.
“The biggest thing is to not blame that victim but be supportive and then encourage them to seek counseling,” said Pamella Jahnke, forensic nurse with the Center of Hope.
The organization provides medical, emotional and psychological support for victims. She’s not surprised three victims waited months file a report.
“There’s a lot of varying factors with that, it could be related the emotional and the psychological turmoil that’s going on with them, they could have been assaulted by someone that they know,” she said.
That’s exactly what officials said happened at Butler University.
A student reported being sexually assaulted by someone from the same social circle, but preferred police not get involved. Instead, the student only wanted support services.
“It’s not uncommon for a person to come in, not necessarily report but to seek care. And we do take care of a lot of patients of that nature to take care of their medical needs, refer them for counseling,” Jahnke said.
Whether it’s police, a support agency or family, victims should at least know someone will be there to listen.
“I think it’s really important to go seek help because you shouldn’t go through it alone,” said Cooper.
Butler officials also said in their message to students that if you are a victim or have knowledge of any alleged crimes, you are encouraged to call police.
If a victim needs to seek services at Butler University, click here.
To access services at Purdue University, click here.
To access services through Center of Hope, click here.