San Francisco colleges calling attention to campus sex assaults

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sex assault (KGO-TV)

The conviction of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner for sexually assaulting a young woman has drawn national attention to the problem. But there's an alarming statistic out Thursday, that only five percent of women who are sexually assaulted on campuses, end up reporting it to law enforcement.

San Francisco prosecutors have partnered with local colleges to raise awareness.

Colleges are raising awareness around what is known as the "red zone," it's when school starts through about Thanksgiving. Students have never been on their own and they are let loose, that's when there are the most cases of sexual assault. Nationwide, one in four college students will be sexually assaulted.

Victims of sexual assault don't always report the incident to police shortly after it happens.

"They come out of the shock of that happening, then they usually tell someone, a friend or another student," said Gina Castro-Rodriguez of San Francisco Victims Services Unit.

Many college students worry about the consequences of coming forward.

"People feel scared to do it. It's just something that's hard to admit sometimes, that it happened. They should have done more to help themselves, you know," said University of San Francisco student Meera Keshav.

A year ago, the district attorney's office and police announced they would team up with all colleges in San Francisco to help them follow the same protocol when dealing with this type of crime.

Those colleges were part of a training Thursday focused on campus sexual assaults and the resources out there even if the victim is not ready to press charges.

"That doesn't mean they don't need services, that they don't need assistance and that we shouldn't collect forensic evidence in case that at a later date she decides at a later date she wanted to prosecute the case," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

College representatives learned Thursday that San Francisco General Hospital is the only facility in the city that can collect that forensic evidence.

Thursday's training also focused on a phenomenon known as the red zone,-the first six weeks of school when colleges see the most cases of sexual assaults among freshman and sophomores.

"There's a lot of excitement, a lot of your people are out on their own for the first time, living on their own, making their own decisions, in change of their own safety and unfortunately, that puts them at risk," Castro-Rodriguez said.

These colleges and universities have adopted the hashtag, #Noconsentnoexcuse.
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