Hope College investigates four sexual assaults in past month

Posted at 4:54 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 16:54:52-04

HOLLAND, Mich. – An investigation is underway at Hope College after four reports of sexual assaults on campus in the past month.

Three of the sexual assaults went under the radar until Monday, when the fourth victim filed the first formal report.  Jennifer Felling, the VP of Public Affairs and Marketing says that then campus safety staff and the school’s Title IX staff put together the details and found the four assaults shared similarities.

“Alcohol was involved and, in each case, the survivor knew the suspect… but they are four different individuals…four different suspects,” Felling tells FOX 17.

Hope College is a dry campus which strictly prohibits underage drinking, but school officials acknowledge that it can happen.  The school’s policy does give amnesty to sexual assault victims.

“Victims who report sexual assault have amnesty in regards to other policy violations, such as consuming alcohol underage because our strongest focus at that time is their safety and healing from the assault.”

The comes in the wake of reports of sexual assaults this fall near the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Those assaults have taken place outside of off-campus apartments.

The YWCA says the incidents are sparking a broader conversation, including campus-wide meetings.   The YWCA says they see more than 300 sexual assaults in a year and they encourage victims to speak up and file reports, no matter what.

If you think you are a victim of a sexual assault, contact the YWCA at this link.