Earlier this week, my university’s venerable police force sent around the following email through the campus safety alert system:
SUSPECT DESCRIPTION :
Suspect #1: White male, early 20s
Shoulder length, bushy brown hair
Wearing a dark green “Ohio” hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans
Suspect #2: White male, early 20s
Wearing a ball cap with a Buckeyes mascot, grey hooded sweatshirt, and blue jeans
Also wearing a metal, link style bracelet
At approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday, March 1, 2010, a female student reported to police that the suspects described above sexually assaulted her in the parking lot of Riverpark Towers, across from Pickering Hall, at approximately 10 p.m. the night before. The victim stated she was walking through the parking lot when the males approached her and forced her into the back of a black, 4 door sedan. The victim stated she was sexually assaulted by each male, inside the vehicle. After being assaulted, the victim stated, she was pushed from the vehicle and the males drove off in an unknown direction. The victim was treated and released from the hospital; Athens City police are investigating the incident.
If you have information pertinent to this investigation, please contact the Athens City Police Department (740) 592-3313. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Solvers Anonymous at (740) 594-3331.
Personal Safety Reminders:
– Remain alert to what’s going on around you
– Report suspicious people to police by calling 911
Now, the crime itself is just horrific. The woman must have been terrified, and my heart goes out to her. It occurred on the fringe of campus in an area that’s quite heavily populated but notoriously dark once the sun goes down. Whenever I ask my beginning students how we should combat sexual violence, they propose more lighting (well, any lighting) for that area of campus. Lighting is only the tiniest part of the solution. And yet, nothing has changed over the past four years. That area remains creepy dark.
I’m glad to see that the campus alert system is functioning. Okay, so I only got the email 40+ hours after the crime occurred. The perps had ample time to escape. One might also reasonably ask how to determine “suspicious people” to report to 911. Ohio U. and Buckeye paraphernalia aren’t exactly rare around this joint. But I get that the cops are at least trying to use technology to help do their jobs. Let’s give ‘em an A for effort, a C- for performance.
Funny how we never hear about acquaintance rape through this alert system. Imagine how we’d view things differently if all rapes were reported via the campus alert system. Imagine if campus police sent out an email like this:
A sexual assault was reported last night at 1:30 a.m. in the DUDE fraternity.
Suspect is a white male, approx. 20, blond hair in a buzz cut.
Wearing a dark green Ohio U. hoodie and blue jeans.
Also wearing a metal, link style bracelet.
Suspect is deemed an ongoing danger. Women are advised to avoid the DUDE house, and also the adjoining DUD house.
I realize this is pure fantasy. And yet … we might just move past the myth that the only “real” rapist is the one who leaps out of the bushes.