A Virginia Tech student took to social media to share her painful story about intimate partner violence. Law enforcement is connecting with the survivor to assist her and the university is fully engaged at all levels. Virginia Tech President, Tim Sands, says, “Please know that we remain committed to doing everything in our power to keep campus safe.”
Part of keeping campus safe is to encourage individuals to speak out about gender-based violence and to seek help, support and protection. Ultimately, it is the refusal to acknowledge sexual violence as an issue on college campuses that is preventing positive change towards safer university experiences. It is always important to report known incidences of violence, intervene when you can and support survivors.
Who is Kip Vehorn?
Kip Vehorn from Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at Virginia Tech is hitting the headlines after being accused of assaulting a fellow student, Campbell Heinberg. Heinberg says, “While we were dating, Kip physically assaulted me: I was beaten to the ground and punched. This happened three times in a row. There are witnesses. After this incident, Kip would not let me leave his sight the week following, threatening me if I told anybody or did anything, essentially forcing me to stay at his house against my will… He sexually assaulted another girl on this exact same day.” Heinberg, also a member of Greek life at Virginia Tech, wants to spread awareness and hold people accountable for their actions. To read more of her compelling story, go to @cbellllllll on Instagram.
Responses From Virginia Tech
President Sands released a message online relating to the recent accusation. However, the administration has not taken any public action. Vehorn has yet to be arrested following Heinberg’s accusation of physical and sexual assault. Currently, students want to know what actions will be taken by campus authorities. The Virginia Tech community feels it would not be right for Vehorn to continue his studies at the university as it would be an injustice towards the women he allegedly assaulted.
Petition Call’s for Action
Recently, a Change.org petition has been created to remove Vehorn from the Virginia Tech campus. The petition was made to support survivors on the Virginia Tech campus and within the community. Created by Lauren Willemin to the Virginia State House, Dean of Students, Blacksburg Mayor, Virginia Tech, Tim Kaine and Blacksburg Vice Mayor, the petition has been signed by nearly 13,000 people so far.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
The NSVRC provides research and tools to advocates working on the frontlines to end sexual harassment, assault and abuse with the understanding that ending sexual violence also means ending racism, sexism and all forms of oppression.