IU students add protection after reported assault on campus

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Students on the Indiana University campus are arming themselves for safety after a 19-year-old student said she was sexually assaulted.

The female student was walking along a path over train tracks at 2 a.m., coming back from the library. A man grabbed her, pulled her into the woods and tried to sexually assault her.

The woman got away.

"We were actually discussing this. We both have things going on later tonight and I personally don't want to walk alone," said a female student, a sophomore at the university.

So walking by day, the students planned walking tonight, thinking out, they said, "Who can pick me up and where? Who is going to come walk with me? Especially during finals week, when we're staying late at the library."

Matt Barthold of Bloomington's home and personal security store is seeing an increase in sales of personal safety devices.

"It does, it bites," he said, showing a stun gun at work.

The former Marine says an alert like Tuesday's energize sales of stun guns and pepper spray.

"You want to have this out, like this. Out straight in front of you," he said, demonstrating how to hold the pepper spray cylinder, giving the victim a chance to run away. "It's very, very effective. It's the last thing I want to get hit with."

He sells hundreds of both items each year, including to one student who used the pepper spray to evade an attacker last year near campus.

The sophomores who spoke to Eyewitness News Tuesday all had or have pepper spray. They got the lecture two years ago.

"Mom did before I came here," said one student. "Learn how to use it and use it if you need to. Same from my cousin."

But they keep them in their purses as they walk campus. The security expert says they should be in your hand, your finger ready to trip the safety if you need to.