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AU investigates report of sexual assault at on-campus fraternity house

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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Auburn University safety experts are asking students to be on alert after a women was reportedly drugged then raped at an on-campus fraternity house.

News Leader 9's Elizabeth White has the details and tells us why the White House is now stepping in.

Details of a possible drugging and date rape at an Auburn University Fraternity house quickly spread among students after a campus-wide email alert was sent out Friday by AU public safety educators.

"We received a report from a parent that their daughter's friend had been raped," said Susan McAlister with the AU Department of Public Safety. "The assault happened several weeks ago in an on-campus fraternity. We don't know the exact specific location except to say the student felt she had been drugged and sexually assaulted at the fraternity."

Most students we spoke to were concerned and even outraged.

"I think it's pathetic, I think it's a pathetic excuse for a man to stoop to something like that," said Auburn student Susan Brewton."It shouldn't happen, it's ridiculous."   

However, we were surprised to hear a few female students we spoke with placing some of the blame on the victims.

McAlister says this misguided mindset is a problem educators are trying to combat on campus.            

"No one ever asks to be raped, no one deserves to be raped, it doesn't matter what you wearing, what you are drinking, you never ask to be a victim of a crime," McAlister said.      

McAlister says the White House formed a task force in January to fight sexual assaults on campus after reporting one in five college aged women will become victims.

McAlister says AU has 10 to 20 reports of sexual assault each year on campus, but believes the vast majority of victims don't come forward.

"What do you want to say to victims out there?" we asked McAlister.

"It's not your fault, we will believe you," she replied.

McAlister says counselors are speaking with the mother who reported this incident in an effort to encourage the student to get help and file a police report.

Safe Harbor on campus and rape counselors of East Alabama are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone who's been a victim. Numerous resources like medical care and counseling are free for anyone who needs support.

For more information please visit Safe Harbor's website.  

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