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Health & Wellness

Protecting against Sexual Assault

Three attacks on Charles River Campus students in one weekend

46
Computer generated likeness of the Boston Esplanade sexual assault suspect

BUPD and Boston, State, and Transit Police warned Esplanade joggers about a sexual assault suspect, shown in this computer-generated image. Image courtesy of Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Barely a month into the fall semester, police are already investigating three alleged sexual assaults on BU students on or near the Charles River Campus. Meanwhile, they are also hunting a suspected serial attacker believed to be responsible for four assaults on the Boston Esplanade from 2007 to 2009.

Against that backdrop, Capt. Robert Molloy of the BU Police Department joined Boston, State, and Transit Police colleagues September 21 at a press conference on the Esplanade to alert student joggers and pedestrians about the incidents there. The officials offered safety tips to minimize vulnerability to attack.

BUPD Chief Thomas Robbins declined to give details of two alleged back-to-back assaults September 17 and 18, saying he didn’t want to compromise the investigations. In the first, a student reported that she was sexually assaulted on campus at about 5 a.m., said Robbins. The next day, another student charged that a nonstudent acquaintance sexually assaulted her around midnight after they’d left an apartment near the intersection of Harvard and Commonwealth Avenues. In that incident, the woman said she had been drinking, according to Robbins.

In a third reported assault on a BU student the same weekend, a woman told police that she was walking near 470 Harvard Ave. on September 17 at 8 a.m. when a man came from behind and forcefully grabbed her buttocks. The woman didn’t get a good look at the man as he ran away, Robbins said; she described him as of indeterminate race, about six feet tall, with a medium build, and wearing black pants and a gray hoodie.

While the Esplanade suspect is believed to have committed his assaults several years ago, Molloy said a BU student alleged that she was sexually assaulted on August 14 on the Esplanade, just east of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. The student, an upperclassman living off campus, “had been walking home from a nightclub” at about 1:30 a.m., he said. She reported the alleged assault to a passerby, who tipped off the BUPD. The woman declined medical treatment. Molloy said he has no further information on the case, which was turned over to the State Police, whose spokesman, David Procopio, said the attack appeared unrelated to the string of earlier Esplanade assaults.

Nevertheless, the BU student’s case is “an active investigation,” he said. “We are completely certain that this was sexual assault. This was a serious crime.” Police don’t have a suspect, according to Procopio.

The BUPD said that the low crime rate on campus has the unfortunate drawback of leading people to assume that nothing ever happens.

Following are among the police safety tips offered at the Esplanade press conference and by the BUPD generally, especially at night:

  • Remove headphones while walking or jogging. The distraction makes you vulnerable to attack.
  • Walk with a friend at night, and avoid areas that are not well lit.
  • Always carry a cell phone. But when you’re out walking or jogging, use it only for emergencies. Otherwise, it can be a distraction. (See headphones, above.)
  • Let someone know when you expect to arrive home.
  • And the perennial tip, from Robbins: If you drink, “make sure no one spikes your drink. Don’t binge-drink. Don’t overindulge.”

Crime, including assaults, ticks up on campuses every fall, with the influx of students with expensive belongings and newcomers learning the campus and often distracted on cell phones or headphones.

46 Comments
Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

46 Comments on Protecting against Sexual Assault

  • JMT on 09.28.2011 at 7:59 am

    I’m pretty sure the “perennial tip” for reducing sexual assault on campus is “don’t rape people”. Can we stop blaming the victim plz?

  • Sarah Campbell on 09.28.2011 at 8:17 am

    I am uncomfortable seeing such a large image of a black man displayed so prominently, a man who is not described in the article as having been involved in the three latest assaults. The picture brings to mind the racist Willy Horton episode in the election campaign of George Bush years ago.

    • A Shea on 09.28.2011 at 10:23 am

      Sarah, I am “uncomfortable” knowing that there have been these incidents of sexual attack on or near the Esplanade that runs parallel to our campus! If the suspect were white, I doubt you would be “uncomfortable.” Your suggestion that this somehow mirrors the Willie Horton case is way off base. Willy Horton was released on furlough, did not return to prison in Massachusetts as required under the then-new furlough program, and murdered two people in Maryland. At the time, former governor Michael Dukakis was actively pursuing the Democratic nomination for President in 1988 and had instituted the furlough program for violent offenders in Massachusetts prisons. The story of the murders–which really occurred and to which Horton was really linked forensically — was picked up off the wire services by the editor of the Lawrence Eagle Tribune, whose paper had reported the murder investigation and trial that had sent Willie Horton to prison. The public had not been informed Horton was being released on furlough and at first he could not believe it was the same person. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune earned the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism for the investigation of how Mr. Horton who was serving a significant sentence for murder was furloughed under a program that did not include public notice or the opportunity for assessment of dangerousness. Governor Dukakis’ presidential aspirations were ended not because of Willie Horton was back, but because he was unable to adequately provide a rationale for the unsupervised furlough program for violent offenders, or for his support of the program.

      Personally, I want to know the physical appearance of suspects in violent crimes, just as much as I would want to know what color and type of car a suspect is driving in an Amber Alert.

      • Mike on 09.28.2011 at 10:57 am

        A Shea, I’ll agree that the Willie Horton reference is a stretch, but the underlying point is valid.

        the image pictured is a suspect in assaults that have been reported along the entire 3-mile length of the Esplanade and at Joe Moakley Park in South Boston. The time span of these assaults stretches back for four years. The point being made by Sarah and others is that there’s no definitive link to this suspect and to the on-campus assaults, and that prominently displaying the picture of an unrelated suspect draws attention away from the source of most sexual assaults: other students or acquaintances.

        There is nothing in this story to link the suspect pictured with the recent assaults besides a few artlessly worded transitions. It’s a stretch, at best. At worst, it clumsily plays into the “black boogyman” meme.

  • Nana on 09.28.2011 at 8:50 am

    F*ck the BUPD. When I reported my rape last year, they didn’t do jacksh*t about it. I had to pour my whole DETAILED story out, have a stranger read it, all for nothing. And NOW for these women they’re drawing up computer-generated images and whatnot of someone they’ve never seen, when I had several clear PHOTOS and trace-able online profiles of my attacker? F*ck their racist, lazy asses. I’m out of here in May, anyway; at least in the real world I have more options for justice and can find empathetic human beings. But because it happened on campus, I had to go to campus police.

    Even if BU wants to censor my comment, I’m happy knowing that one person read it. It’s better that way, since most people try to make up all kinds of excuses to blindfold themselves from seeing the truth.

    • David Keefe on 09.28.2011 at 9:30 am

      Actually the computer generated image is not from BUPD, but from Suffolk County DA (as noted in the caption under the image) of a suspect for sexual assaults on the Esplanade. He’s a suspect in the hands of legal operations far above BUPD’s operations. Just saying to clarify that point in your comment and so as not to profile the BUPD as “rascist” etc. But that aside, your comment is interesting…

      • Mike on 09.28.2011 at 11:04 am

        David, you’re leaving out the point that this suspect has no connection to the recent on-campus assaults, and that the DA’s office, BPD, BUPD and other agencies are likely using the recent incidents to draw attention to the need for self-awareness among new students.

        That’s all well and good, but how does displaying the picture of someone unconnected to the recent assaults actually focus attention on the main source of most on-campus assaults?

        Answer: It doesn’t.

        • David Keefe on 09.28.2011 at 11:14 am

          Well, I was just clarifying something Nana said in her original post, Mike. I wasn’t trying, nor had any interest in, commenting on the topic you are talking about, nor was Nana. Just clarifying something she said in her post. That is all.

    • Anonymous on 09.28.2011 at 9:41 am

      Same thing happened to me. I had photos too. It’s been a year since I was raped on campus by another college student but when I told a doctor at BU health she had no idea how to help me, just made matters worse because I had trusted her enough to share my story. Then the police sent a large man to come interview me and I was so intimidated that I couldn’t speak with him. Next time send a female cop or a SANE nurse, come on BU.

      I’m sorry that it happened to you too.

  • Cynthia on 09.28.2011 at 9:28 am

    Only in cases of sexual assault is the public informed of whether the victim has been drinking. We don’t ask if robbery victims have been drinking, or assault victims. Why must this report include that the woman sexually assaulted by her acquaintance had been drinking? It doesn’t matter, and it’s a subtle way of suggesting that maybe she deserved it. Please, use more sensitivity in your reporting. Just because the police were insensitive in mentioning that detail, it doesn’t mean reporters have to parrot words that blame the victim.

    • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.28.2011 at 2:59 pm

      I detected no undertones suggesting that the suspect deserved it, only your comment suggesting it. The mention served to suggest that as the victim was intoxicated, there was no way that she could have provided appropriate consent. It’s also plausible that her alleged attacker may have attempted to contribute to her intoxication as a means of coercing her into taking actions she would not have otherwise taken.

      It’s relevant and valuable information to the investigation.

    • Kev on 09.28.2011 at 3:00 pm

      Wait, are you serious? Obviously they report whether a person is drunk during a sexual assault, because they’re making the point that PEOPLE WHO ARE DRUNK ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. Of course during a home invasion, no burglar is waiting to find the homeowner drunk, because they aren’t concerned with that. They can’t tell if the homeowner is drunk without interacting with the person. But obviously a sexual predator is going to take a vulnerable, drunk person any day over a sober person who is more apt to defend themselves. It’s not about incriminating a victim, it’s about the fact that this person was probably taken advantage of by the assailant because they were drunk. Stop being a whiny little brat, it’s a fact, and it’s part of the story.

  • Marie on 09.28.2011 at 9:30 am

    Were the first two incidents rape or are they actually sexual assaults like the last one? Rape and sexual assault are not the same thing, its just easier to say that someone was sexually assaulted.

  • Eric on 09.28.2011 at 9:32 am

    Maybe if the BUPD spent more time looking for this guy rather than trolling the streets of Allston en masse trying to break up parties they’d have this guy by now.

  • Hawk on 09.28.2011 at 9:53 am

    I am truly sorry that this is happening to women and that their reports are not handled in a more sensitive and efficient way. I do not believe that the issue of drinking is relevant. The way a woman acts, dresses or drinks has nothing to do with rape. Nothing gives anyone permission to touch someone in a sexual way other than a clear and obvious consent.

  • Laura on 09.28.2011 at 10:00 am

    This basically exemplifies what’s wrong with mainstream reporting on sexual assaults.

    1.) The most important tip to avoid rape is actually for the rapists: DON’T RAPE PEOPLE.
    2.) If a woman is jogging alone on the Esplanade at night, drunk, with a cell phone on one ear and a headphone in the other, and no one knows when she’s getting home, and she is assaulted, it is STILL NOT HER FAULT. SEXUAL ASSAULT IS THE FAULT OF THE PERPETRATOR.
    3.) It is totally inappropriate to show a large picture of a black non-student man who is totally unconnected to the three assaults being reported. It feeds the idea that sexual assault is usually perpetrated by black male strangers. Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by people who know their victims, and perpetrators come from every race and gender there is.

    Also, are we really shocked that there were 3 sexual assaults on an enormous college campus in one weekend? Probably the only thing that differentiated this weekend was that 3 assaults were reported.

    • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.28.2011 at 3:04 pm

      RE: 1 and 2. Where in the article does any fault get applied to the victims? That list provided is a set of safety tips to help a person protect one’s self from others at night. Nowhere does it say that an assault becomes the victim’s fault if that person were wearing headphones, it suggests that not wearing headphones may help prevent an assault.

      I don’t understand where this inference of fault is coming from.

      • LA on 09.28.2011 at 3:53 pm

        I have to wonder, Aaron, why you are so bent on responding negatively to those of us, including myself, who see an actual problem with the reporting? You still haven’t proven why reporting (whether a rape/sexual assault victim was drunk or not) is actually “useful.” If you care so much about whether the article is blaming victims or not, then why don’t you stop and listen to the (mostly female) writers here who detect the general chauvinist insensitivity and victim-blaming? We are talking about the IMPLICATION of the writing, not what it “literally says.” Implications and intimations in reporting stories, especially ones as sensitive as those regarding rape and sexual assault, are just as important and influential on the readers as explicit, stated facts.

        • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.28.2011 at 4:23 pm

          I don’t agree that it implies what you say it implies. We’re allowed to disagree. I’ll remember to post anonymously next time so my opinion isn’t prejudged inappropriately based on my gender.

          • KDC on 10.02.2011 at 11:36 am

            Aaron, You don’t agree because you are a man and haven’t had rape culture pablum shoved down your throat your entire life. Such as she wore a miniskirt, she was asking for it. She had a sexual relationship with someone she was not married to, she was a loose woman.

            And this article does what every other article about rape and sexual assault does. It gives tips to women on how they can avoid rape, as if they are in control of whether or not they are raped. We also see it in the language that is used, such as saying that “a woman ggot raped” as if she decided to go to the store to get milk, eggs and a little rape on the side. Women are not responsible for their own rapes, no more than men are responsible for their own murders, beatings or muggings, no more than bank customers are responsible for getting killed when their bank is robbed and no more than the victims of 9/11 are responsible for their plane hijackings and building attacks.

            You would be shamed off the board to make those claims, and yet for some reason it seems okay to blame women for being raped if they wear a miniskirt, makeup, walk at night, walk in the wrong neighborhood, drive in the wrong neighborhood, associate with the wrong kind of men (as if there is a kind that does not rape, studies say otherwise). That is what people take exception to.

            The most common solution to decrease rape and sexual assault if for men not to commit rape and sexual assault. And yet, we NEVER see that rhetoric in the media. And in fact, there are men that will admit to forcing sex on someone, having sex with someone who is drunk and unable to consent, forcing a woman to perform a blowjob etc, all of which is rape, but will say they’ve never raped anyone. Because they DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT RAPE IS. RAPE IS HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE BY FORCE, WITHOUT CONSENT AND POSSIBLY THROUGH COERCION VIA A WEAPON. RAPE IS HAVING SEX WITHOUT SOMEONE WHO IS DRUNK AND CANNOT CONSENT. RAPE IS MULITPLE MEN HAVING SEX WITH AN UNCONSCIOUS WOMAN, WHO CANNOT CONSENT, AND UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD NOT CONSENT. AND FRANKLY, NO ONE CAN CONSENT TO GANG RAPE, AS IT CAN NEVER BE INFORMED CONSENT DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE THING.

            So go back and reread the article and especially the tips on how women can avoid being raped, and how nowhere in the article does it say: Men, always get sober consent from a woman before having sex.

            In fact, the colleges would do well to have a mandatory first semester sexual crimes class where the message is always get enthusiastic consent. That would probably go far better than these periodic articles aimed at teaching the victims not to be raped, with nothing teaching the men in society what rape is.

          • This again? on 10.03.2011 at 1:36 pm

            Wow that is quite the overreaction and I’m pretty sure he didn’t deserve it. First year of college it was hammered home for me what is and is not appropriate/legal/etc for sexual consent, exactly what constitutes rape, and how to protect yourself (both genders equally).

            You took this to 9/11 and gang rape. There’s no response that could compare to the ridiculousness here.

          • Em on 10.03.2011 at 1:44 pm

            KDC. Please dial down the crazy a little.

            You are correct in saying that it if the fault of the rapist… I think something so obvious doesn’t need to be reiterated in every article regarding rape.

            Furthermore, by starting out your argument with “you don’t understand because you are a man…” you’ve already alienated the very audience you think needs to be addressed.

    • DC on 09.28.2011 at 7:55 pm

      I don’t see the implication of victim responsibility either. I read the list as attempting to provide general tips for reducing risk while out. Of course the fault lies with the assaulter.

      This can be crudely (but I think correctly) compared to a list of ways to avoid shark attacks (i.e. don’t wear shiny objects while swimming). No one (except maybe the people arguing that the list in this article blames the victims of assault) would blame someone for being attacked by a shark, even if he was bleeding at dusk while wearing a pair of golden MC Hammer-like parachute pants. These are simply steps one can take to reduce risk.

      Although I think it’s a shame that so many are assaulted and some are forced to adopt to these risk-reducing habits.

  • G on 09.28.2011 at 10:43 am

    Thankfully I haven’t been raped, but I’ve been stalked. If we are still confronted by extreme sexism in areas of sexual assault, how far have we really come as women (and men) and as people? Why is it, on a campus with so high a percentage of women, that we are still powerless to get the protection and the respectful treatment, the dignity, we deserve? Why have our attempts to ban together been ignored? It’s not just BU, it’s all over the country. Why are women (and men) not given the respect they deserve in these cases? It’s bad to be a raped woman, but my male friends have had it worse and they’ve never sought treatment because of the implied emasculation rape means. If rape makes a man like a woman, it also means that women are less, undignified, and second class. Being stalked was scary. Being raped would be worse and forever with you, like a mini death, a loss of our soul, but the victims are treated like their pain is their own fault. Mass is better than some of the other places I’ve lived for this, but it’s all over the country, the murderous violence of rape is ignored, trivialized, focused on the wrongs of the victim. What is wrong with us as a people? I came to BU from an extremely sexist, unfortunately also religious, background to escape from the oppression. How far have I really come? Do I hide in my home after dark to escape this fate? That didn’t work with the stalkers. We can’t save ourselves alone, we have to do it, united, as a people. It has to be the most important thing.

  • Lauren on 09.28.2011 at 10:48 am

    “In that incident, the woman said she had been drinking”

    The implication that if a woman has consumed any alcohol it becomes her fault if she is assaulted is repugnant and has no place in an objective account of the situation, especially considering the victim is a student and will probably read this.

  • Anonymous on 09.28.2011 at 11:14 am

    I fail to see why all of you are turning this into a female rights issue. As an objective fact the drinking is important. It could mean a variety of things. In the context of this article it highlights the fact that her judgement and ability to avoid a situation was impaired. The idea that we should tell the rapists not to rape is worthless. Rape is already a crime and they are aware of this. These tips are to help you avoid getting yourself into a situation where sexual assault is less likely to occur.

    • Tiffany Cheung on 09.28.2011 at 12:14 pm

      I totally agree with you. TOTALLY. Some people just overreact when they see something that describes their behavior. One thing I don’t like about these people is that they don’t seem to reflect themselves first when they confront a problem. It is undoubtedly the criminals’ fault in these cases. However, when we struggle hard trying to OTHERS what to do, which is beyond your control, why don’t we just start from ourselves, start with telling OURSELVES what to do to make the difference.

      I disagree with the point that this article is blaming the victims. What I see from the other comments is that there are people out there trying to blame those who suggest precautions. I feel sorry for the victims. And I want to prevent these assaults/rapes as much as everyone else does.

      But I do agree with the view about the suspect picture. It’s irritating.

    • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.28.2011 at 3:06 pm

      This.

    • Jean on 09.29.2011 at 1:29 am

      I agree with you that drinking impairs your judgment and decreases your ability to fight back an attacker or run away from an assailant. However, the article simply states that “the woman had been drinking”. There is no other information about the relation between alcohol and sexual assaults. I would feel a lot less of a victim-blaming tone if the author had included some statistics or had written the whole article about drinking and sexual assaults rather than have one sentence about it.

      Your statement that “it could mean a variety of things” is absolutely right. It could mean that the author is implying that the woman who was attacked was at fault/’deserved it’ for drinking or that she couldn’t defend herself because she was intoxicated. We simply don’t know because the author didn’t tell us enough about it.

      Lastly, the fact that I need tips to ‘avoid getting myself into a situation’ is bullshit. From day one people should be taught not to rape others. I shouldn’t have to go through the trauma, therapy, and trial just because a man/woman can’t control themselves.

      • This again? on 09.29.2011 at 9:06 am

        You’ve missed the point about the tips.

        From day one people are taught not to rape others. That doesn’t stop rapists. People are also frequently taught not to kill each other, but that doesn’t tend to stop murderers. People are taught not to steal from others, but that doesn’t stop thieves. People are taught not to run red lights when they learn how to drive (or bike, or jaywalk), but that certainly doesn’t stop people either.

        People take defensive driving classes, people take martial arts and self defense classes, people install security cameras and alarm systems. It’s not inappropriate to suggest that people also be mindful of certain things as a means of helping protect themselves against rape.

        • Yes, this again on 09.29.2011 at 9:47 am

          In fact, from day one, people *aren’t* taught not to rape others. Aside from the occasional half-hearted “no means no” boys hear, there is no consistent effort to underline the necessity of enthusiastic consent, or the fact that intoxication can’t mean consent. Meanwhile, every three seconds, women are being told how to dress, how to act, what to drink and not drink, whom to be with at what times of the day or night.

          1/3 of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime (that’s according to another article on BU Today). Are all of these women breaking these “rules”?

          From day one, women are told how they can avoid sexual assault (and btw, a woman could employ every tactic in the book and still be raped), while men are not taught how to avoid it, and people still don’t see how it’s victim blaming when it happens?

          • This again? on 09.29.2011 at 12:12 pm

            So you would prefer that women not receive information on how to protect themselves?

            Who said they were rules that someone is breaking? Women are told how they can avoid sexual assault because they are the largest target of sexual assault. How does this get turned into blame? At risk demographics all throughout society receive this same kind of attention. It doesn’t mean they are to blame because they are at risk.

            Everyone at this university has been told to travel in groups at night, to not stumble around intoxicated, and to be aware of their surroundings (this article said NOTHING about how to dress) because there are predators of many varieties in urban environments. These are the generic safety tips that are provided during all crime reporting that I can recall in the past.

            I will not deny that there are definitely people in the world that commit victim blaming. This article is not an example of that and is being overzealously scrutinized by a non-objective, non-impartial group of people.

    • KDC on 10.02.2011 at 11:43 am

      Because they are implying that if she was drunk that she deserved it, or that if she was not drunk, it would not have happened.

      the drinking is not actually important as to whether the rape happened. If it is important, it’s important that even if she consented, her consent was probably coerced because her judgement was impaired. We don’t let people drive while drunk, why on earth would we expect someone to be able to consent to sex while drunk given that the ramifications are disease and pregnancy for the women.

      Men of course don’t get pregnant and are less likely to contract a disease from sex because of the reproductive organs being external.

      Women would not need to live in fear if not for men continuing to rape women when they know it’s illegal.

      • Em on 10.03.2011 at 1:45 pm

        Actually, the drinking is important… it’s a factor involved with the incident. You are making the disclosure of information into something it isn’t.

  • Amanda on 09.28.2011 at 11:34 am

    This is so infuriating. You want to protect against sexual assault, BU? How about not posting useless composite photos of unidentified black men who have absolutely no connection to on-campus assaults, and instead prosecuting the rapists that victims have actual pictures of? How about losing the ubiquitous “safety tips” that do absolutely nothing to protect against the most common kinds of sexual assault (by people known to the victim) and instead blame the victim for not being more careful? How about instead focusing on educating potential rapists — the party whose behavior actually CAUSES RAPE — about enthusiastic consent? How about being aware that heavy drinking is actually more closely associated with perpetrators than with victims of sexual assault?

  • Suarez on 09.28.2011 at 12:11 pm

    Please stop trying to infer racism when it’s not there. Black, white, hispanic–what’s the difference? The person is a criminal and we need to know what the creep looks like. Those of you who are naive enough to try to make an issue out of this need to get out of PC Lala Land and wake up.

    Also, pointing out a correlation between drinking and assault is not blaming the victim: it’s pointing out a weakness. Women on their own need to be strong and alert, and if you’ve been drinking, you are neither. That makes you an easy target for thugs and low-lifes–they’re like any predator that picks out the easy kill.

    • Mike on 09.28.2011 at 12:50 pm

      Suarez, instead of railing against those supposedly living in a “PC Lala Land” you might want to wake up to the fact that most campus sexual assaults are committed by other students or acquaintances of the victim. Being “strong and alert” is meaningless when instead of the “thugs and low-lifes” you’ve been told to expect, your attacker is that nice guy down the hall.

      It’s not implying racism to comment about a picture of an unrelated suspect from several years ago who state police say isn’t related to the recent on-campus incidents. That’s just a critique of weak journalism.

    • Concerned Citizen on 09.28.2011 at 4:27 pm

      Great. But what is wrong with taking precautions? Obviously, nobody is going to prevent rapists from raping with this article. A deterrent is necessary, and this article did not provide a further rape-deterring revision to the Massachusetts State Law.

      If the article cannot persuade the rapists, then it may as well remind the victims (or potential victims) that they can avoid this situation by keeping vigilance. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with keeping one’s wits about themselves.

      • Concerned Citizen on 09.28.2011 at 4:31 pm

        *addition:

        If it cannot remind people of the circumstances in which rape occurs, then it is a completely useless article, and shouldn’t have been published in the first place.

        As per the wishes of those who are trying to keep the blame from the victims, if this article were not posted at all, there would be more instances in which rape occurred, this coming weekend.

        In a more controversial light: You are causing further rape by making it okay to ignore these precautions. Do you want that on your conscience?

  • Beth Kozik on 09.28.2011 at 12:43 pm

    While this article reminds us of the safety precautions we should take to possibly prevent an assault by a stranger, it is also important to remember that the majority of sexual assault offenders are known to their victim.

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, (Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Institute of Justice) among victims ages 18 to 29, two-thirds had a prior relationship with the offender.
    6 in 10 rape or sexual assault victims said that they were assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance. A study of sexual victimization of college women showed that 9 out of 10 victims knew the person who sexually victimized them.

    Here are a few more safety tips:

    • There can be “Safety in Numbers” (When going out, try to come and leave with a group of people you trust)
    • Avoid giving out your personal information (phone number, where you live, etc.). If someone asks for your number, take his/her number instead of giving out yours
    • Be aware that often alcohol and drugs interfere with consent (Know your limit & Keep track of how many drinks you have had
    • Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, leave the situation and go to a safe place

    If you are sexually assaulted, please remember you are NOT ALONE.
    There are support services available to support you. Just to name a few, right here on campus Student Health Services has 24/7 crisis counselor available, call 617-353-3569 (this number is on the back of your BU student ID).
    Also, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a hotline for assistance 24 hours a day: 1-800-841-8371

    • Mike on 09.28.2011 at 12:51 pm

      Excellent and useful post, Beth.

      • Aaron L'Heureux on 09.28.2011 at 3:12 pm

        Agreed, very useful – would be nice to see some of this incorporated into the article so that the safety tips are not solely for protection from strangers.

  • anonymous on 09.28.2011 at 12:58 pm

    3 sexual assaults happened in one weekend? id be relatively happy if I truly believed it were only three. Im glad that these cases were reported but I guarantee you far far more happened at BU, and in the surrounding area that weekend and probably most weekends. Im glad to see reporting on it, but I dont think anyone knows how wide spread this is. I never told authorities. most girls dont.

  • Sea on 09.29.2011 at 1:43 am

    Actions bring reactions. The first rule should be for women to safeguard themselves the best they could. That’s the best protection they could get. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE RAPED, PROTECT YOURSELF!!! Don’t go out alone in the middle of the night, dress appropriately, don’t take intoxicants; be aware of yourself and your surroundings. People incite people. DON’T GIVE THE TOOLS FOR SOMEBODY TO RAPE YOU! This is simple and clear. If there is a problem, honestly, ask yourself why did it happen, and act according to that. The problem is that people don’t want to change their ways and their lifestyle. That’s why the world is like it is and that’s why most of the world is in deep trouble. All it takes is right understanding to see things as they really are.

    There is no perpetrator without a victim, and no victim without a perpetrator! But if you can safeguard yourself against a perpetrator, you are in better shape against sexual assault!

    If the problem is looked from the standpoint of oneself, FIRST instead of the other’s; for example, in terms of what I can do to change myself so that this doesn’t happen to me anymore–that’s a better solution than throwing your problem onto someone else’s shoulder. What is for sure is that you cannot change the world. The idea of changing the world starts with changing oneself first!!!!

    I hope this message helps everyone become more conscientious about what modifications they can make in their lives to avoid being subjected to such atrocious situations.

    Out of compassion,

    Sea

  • fuze on 11.08.2011 at 12:18 pm

    I should be free to live my life without the fear of being sexually assaulted by anyone.. I should never have to prepare myself to walk alone at night. I should never have to wonder if the person behind me is going to attack me. I should never question whether or not my long sleeved t-shirt invites unwanted thoughts or suggests unwanted advances.No one should be so empowered to feel that they can take advantage of my body, in disturbing and horrible ways. My body is my own and I shouldn’t ever think that someone would ever take control of it with out my consent. Rape/Sexual assault is based on power and control not lust or passion. Anyone is at risk. The issue isn’t about precautions, intoxication, gender bias, victim blaming, race or clothing. The issue here is that this discussion exists. It shouldn’t.

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