Sexual Assault Alarms Community

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Sexual Assault Alarms Community

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By Laura Sanicola

The recent sexual assault of a Fordham student has made local news. Students on campus awoke Sunday morning to a Public Safety email reporting that a student was sexually assaulted around 10:05 p.m. onSaturday in the alley adjacent to the Dunkin Donuts on Fordham Road.

Two males loitering in the alleyway accosted the female student, According to the email alert. “One male grabbed her and forcibly held her arms behind her back while the other forcibly groped her body,” the email stated.

The incident appeared on Bronx News 12, as well as CBS local news, NBC and WABC-TV.

According to the email alert, as one of the males was unzipping his pants, unidentified individuals approached the rear parking lot of the Dunkin Donuts, possibly alarming the attackers. The two fled down East Fordham Road, the alert continued.

The student was reportedly uninjured and continued to her off-campus apartment.

Fordham Public Safety and NYPD officers responded to the student’s apartment and notified detectives from the Special Victims Unit, who also responded. Fordham also assigned an Administrative Support Person to the student. An Administrative Support Person is assigned in sexual assault cases to assist a complaintant in receiving assistance and understanding the process and available resources, according to Campus Assault and Relationship Education (CARE).

“Fordham’s Department of Public Safety is working closely with the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit detectives on the investigation,” said senior director of communications Bob Howe. “The university has offered the student all the resources at its disposal.”

The email reports that NYPD personnel canvassed the area with no result and collected possible physical evidence, including video footage.

No description of the assailants was provided in the alert.
Public Safety said that the NYPD believes individuals in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot may have seen the student’s assailants, and encourage anyone who was in the area at the time the assault occurred to come forward.

The assault comes less than two weeks after the Association of American Universities (AAU) released a survey finding that 23% of 150,000 student respondents reported to have experienced sexual assault in college. These students hailed from 27 universities, with elite schools comprising some of the highest self reported assault rates.

The incident raised the concerns of the sexual assault task force.

“The Sexual Misconduct Task Force is deeply disturbed by the incident that occurred this past Saturday evening,” the task force said in a statement.

“Whether or not the perpetrators were members of the Fordham Community, these acts are based in issues that permeate society that say that it is acceptable for human beings to be objectified and have their will and personhood violated. We hope that the survivor of this incident received the necessary care following these events. One sexual assault in our community is, by any standard, one too many.”

Samantha Bannelis, FCRH ’16, lives in Lorillard Towers and goes to Dunkin Donuts regularly. The attack will likely change the way she travels to and from campus.

“I will probably walk through Dunkin now rather than walking around it,” Bannelis said. “That area is always very populated with Fordham students, so it’s scary to think that something like this could happen so close to campus.”

“It’s terrifying; how are students supposed to feel safe when they can’t walk a couple feet beyond campus without the fear of being hurt?” agreed Vivek Arora, FCRH ‘17, a resident of Finlay Hall. “The university should strive to prevent these kinds of issues before they happen, especially in such close vicinity to our home. Nonetheless, I wish the victim the best of luck and hope she recuperates from this incident.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Bronx Special Victims Unit, Detective Barranger, at (718) 378-8921, or the Department of Public Safety at (718) 817-2222, and ask to speak to the Duty Supervisor.