TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE: Tuscaloosa police say the teen student who alleged rape in the parking lot on campus has been charged with filing a false report.
ORIGINAL: The University of Alabama Police are investigating a sexual assault that happened near Bryant Denny Stadium early Sunday morning. It’s the second sexual assault reported from over the weekend on the UA campus.
Police say two men forced a student female victim into a vehicle and sexually assaulted her. The incident reportedly happened around 2 a.m. on Wallace Wade Avenue in Solomon’s parking Lot area. Officials say the two suspects were driving a red Jeep Cherokee.
The crime has many female students concerned. Freshmen students Olivia Hiz and Glenna Lacy are now taking steps to be more careful.
“I always try to keep my phone on me and make sure it’s charged. I really don’t go anywhere by myself because I always go with my friends because it’s always better to go in a group then by yourself,” Hiz said.
Her friend and fellow student Glenna Lacy agrees.
“Because I don’t want it to happen to me, or anyone I know because I can’t even imagine something like that happening to me. You have to be on guard on campus and watch your back,” Lacy said.
Dr. Kathy Echols encourages any student at the University of Alabama who has been a victim of sexual assault to come get help. The Women and Gender Resource Center offers free confidential council services.
“Coming here for victims, they have a safe space; we’ve made it a safe space for them to have confidentiality for us to help them. People who are victimized like this, it is going to impact them in a lot of ways. Anxiety, depression, stress or PTSD. So a lot of things, we can help them manage those symptoms because what we want is for our students to have a successful college life here,” Echols said.
Hiz says she is glad those services are available. But in the meantime, she and her friend will be using more caution.
“Yeah it is definitely intimidating but I think you just need to know your surroundings and know where you are. It could happen to anyone and it is really scary but you just have to make yourself aware of what is going on and be careful,” she said.
The Women and Gender resource Center says one in five women are victims of sexual assaults on college campuses nationwide.