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Sexual assault survivor group says Arizona State University needs to do more

ASU Arizona State University Police
Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 18, 2021

TEMPE, AZ — After a sexual assault attack on the Arizona State University campus Sunday, a local advocacy group is calling for more resources, specifically, counselors, to be available for students at the school.

ASU police say an armed suspect reportedly grabbed the victim from behind and held a metal knife-like object to her throat. The suspect then pressed a gun-like object into the victim's back and then left the area. Police say it is not believed that the sexual assault victim is a student at ASU. The victim was then taken to an unknown location near the Packard parking structure where the suspect sexually assaulted her, police said.

"A lot of sexual violence happens here on campus, and usually nothing really happens," said Emma Podczsaki, a student at ASU.

"It could literally happen to anyone. It’s very scary," said Emely Rosario, a freshman at ASU.

ASU police say the suspect has yet to be caught.

Many female students at ASU don’t feel safe on campus late at night, or that the resources are adequate enough to truly help survivors. The group Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault say there is only one victim advocate counselor for the whole school.

"Students are scared, and they don't trust the administration and they don’t trust the police," said Jasmine, Director of Sun Devils Against Sexual Assault (SDASA), a sexual assault survivor advocacy group not affiliated with the university. "Survivors have told us that the counselors have turned them away or 'Don’t talk about sexual assault in here because we can’t see you long term.'"

According to the State Press' online faculty database, ASU only had two Victim Advocate counselors on staff in 2020. One of those is a Victim Advocate Coordinator.

Jasmine with SDASA said one of those positions is currently vacant. ASU did not respond to questions about how many Victim Advocate counselors are currently on staff. ASU did respond to ABC15 with a pre-produced video from April for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

ASU does have victim services available with assistance for victims in finding a safe place to stay, to helping file police reports. Victim Services information can be found here.