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Sexual Assault At UWF Leads To Warnings

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  Police at the University of West Florida Wednesday received a report of a sexual assault, which occurred that day. As a new semester begins, new calls are going out on self-protection.

According to a nationwide analysis of colleges by the Washington Post, UWF had a total of six reported forcible sex offenses from 2010 to 2012, the latest figures available. That’s a rate of .16 offenses reported per 1,000 students.

The report also shows 207 reported sex offenses on Florida campuses during that period, with a rate of  .11 per thousand students. 

Wednesday’s incident is under investigation by UWF Police. An email sent out by the university is aimed at reminding both new and returning students to take precautions for personal safety. That says Chief John Warren, begins with communication.

“There can be mixed messages in these situations, and if you’re not sure, ask,” said Warren.

Someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may not be able to give active consent. Another tip involves witnessing what appears to be a sexual assault – don’t be a spectator.

“You can call the police,” Warren said. “Depending on how well you know the parties involved you can say ‘Hey, wait a minute. Is this really what you’re going to do?’ If you see a friend who’s had too much to drink and is being offered and accepting a ride home from a stranger, say ‘Hey wait a minute – let’s rethink this.’”

Warren also reminds everyone about the 53 emergency call boxes – marked with blue lights – which are set up across campus. You can also use your mobile phone, or dial 911.

One of the most effective precautions is also one of the easiest. If you go out at night, go in pairs or groups. UWF Police Chief John Warren says there’s safety in numbers, and his department can help out.

Victims of sexual and other physical attacks on campus can get help on campus through UWF’s Counseling and Wellness Center.

You can reach the UWF Police Department by calling 474-2415. The campus Counseling Service number is 474-2420. Information on both is available at uwf.edu.