Stanford University has issued alerts about reports this week of a rape and sexual assault that took place within three days of each other.
The latest notice sent late Wednesday night was of a sexual assault that took place on campus on Friday around 9 p.m., according to the university's Department of Public Safety.
Another alert issued on Tuesday notified the campus community of a rape that occurred early Sunday morning sometime after midnight on the east side of campus, public safety officials said.
The latest reports raises the number of reported sexual assaults on campus to four in less than a month. Two other rapes occurred in on-campus residences. The first incident took place on or around Sept. 30 or Oct. 1 and the second occurred on or around the early morning hours of Oct. 8. Those cases were not thought to be related, public safety officials said at the time.
In all of the incidents, the suspect and the victim knew each other, according to public safety officials.
The department warned that alcohol or drugs might be used in such crimes to impair a victim, although they did not specify if alcohol or drugs were related to these crimes. But in a strongly worded statement, they noted that statistically, the majority of reported sexual assaults occur while one or both parties are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"Alcohol or drugs may impair one's ability to judge whether or not consent has been given, but it is never an excuse for choosing to violate another person," the department said. "Ignorance of the law or of university policy concerning sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment is not a defense. Receive affirmative consent from your partner before engaging in sexual activity," officials said in the alert, which was posted on the department's website.
"Stanford University does not tolerate sexual assault, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. The university encourages anyone who has been sexually assaulted or subject to other forms of sexual misconduct or harassment to report the incident to university officials."
Police also warned about "date-rape" drugs. "There are a number of drugs that may be added to beverages with the intent of altering the consciousness of or incapacitating a person without their knowledge. These drugs are particularly dangerous when combined with alcohol and often produce amnesia, leaving a victim unclear about what occurred afterward. These drugs can facilitate criminal activity; most often acts of sexual misconduct or sexual assault."
Anyone who knows a victim or is the victim of a sexual assault or who isn't sure whether they or someone they know has been sexually assaulted, can find resources at Stanford regarding their options and to support them. The university's website with resource information is sexualviolencesupport.stanford.edu. Links to additional resources can be found at police.stanford.edu.
Anyone having information about the sexual assaults is asked to call the Stanford University Department of Public Safety at 650-329-2413.