Defense Against Crime

12/11/2009

2 female C of C students attacked

By David MacDougall 
The Post and Courier 
Thursday, November 12, 2009  

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 Two female College of Charleston students were assaulted in separate attacks late Tuesday, and police are asking for help in identifying suspects.

In the first incident, at about 11:20 p.m., a woman was walking north on Coming Street between Vanderhost and Calhoun streets when she was approached from behind by a man who demanded money, Charleston police public information officer Charles Francis said Wednesday.

 

When the woman told the man she didn’t have any money, he sexually assaulted her, Francis said.

The assailant was described as a black male, 23 to 27 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall and 140 to 150 pounds. He had a dirty appearance, a scruffy beard, a shaved head and was wearing baggy jeans and a white zip-up jacket.

About 10 minutes later, a woman was walking on Radcliffe Street near King Street when a man grabbed her from behind, police said. She was able to fight off the attacker and got away. She was not sexually assaulted or injured.

The second victim described her assailant as a black male, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a scruffy beard and wearing a gray or tan hooded jacket and blue ball cap with white writing on it.

Both victims were walking alone when they were attacked, Francis said.

The college on Wednesday informed all students, staff and faculty of the attacks, said Mike Robertson, director of media relations.

 

“We’re telling everyone to be aware of their surroundings and to be vigilant,” Robertson said.

“We have expanded our patrols around the area, and we’re working with city police to keep an eye on the area,” he said.

 

Any student or staff member who feels uneasy about walking at night can contact the Public Safety Office for an escort, he said.

 

Anyone with information about the attacks can call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.)

 

 Parents send their children off to college believing that campus security and dorm safety rules will protect them, but they’re vastly overrating the protection most schools provide. According to the American Association of University Women between 20 and 25% of women on campus are sexually assaulted sometime during their educational career; another 13% are stalked.

Crime statistics in higher education environments are underreported: these institutions don’t want the larger community to know, so parents and students are unprepared for the violent crime that’s all too common on campus. Women and men are mugged, beaten and robbed on university campuses. In the case of rape, crime goes largely unreported: some 65% of campus rapes are not reported to campus security, or the police.

Prevention isn’t always possible; 71% of rapes are planned in advance. But you can decrease your chances of being attacked by staying sober (75% of victims and rapists are drinking when rape occurs).


Here are some additional safety tips: 

  • Always trust your instinctIf your gut is telling you something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t (your more perceptive than you think).  Go back to where you came from, contact campus security or find people as quickly as you can.
  • Always travel in groups. Never walk alone at night. Avoid “shortcuts”.  Criminals, like predators, try to isolate their prey from the herd. Groups are less likely to be confronted, so “buddy up” for the walk home. You will note that both of these incidents happened when the girls were alone.
  • Never trust your assailant. Criminals are cunning and can be extremely persuasive. Most likely they will approach you in a friendly manner and appeal to your common senses. No matter what they say or how convincing they are, never believe them.
  • Never leave the area. Your attacker needs to isolate you. In order to do that, they will use force or any persuasive maneuver to convince you that going with them is in your best interest. Don’t go, even when faced with an armed assailant. Put as much space between you and them as fast as possible.

An Ounce of Prevention…Here’s how to plan ahead to ensure you never have to find your self in a desperate situation

  • Always take advantage of campus safety servicesBecome familiar with your college campus police/security department or campus escort. Most offer escorts and shuttle services to and from campus dorms after hours.
  •  Study the campus and neighborhood.  Become familiar with respect to routes between your residence and class/activities schedule. Make note where emergency phones are located.
  • Share your class and activities schedule. Let parents and a network of close friends know your schedule. This creates a type of “buddy” system. Give network telephone numbers to.
  • Carry some type of Personal Protection Product. Pepper spray and Stun Guns are easily carried in a purse, pocket or backpack: if you’re out alone or walking in any spot that may be unsafe, make it a habit to hold the spray in your hand. If you need it, you shouldn’t be fumbling for it!

By Victor Swindell, owner of PepperEyes.com, a division of Swindell Enterprises. PepperEyes.com is dedicated to assist those people who are unwilling to become a victim and are taking responsibility to protect themselves, their cars, or their possessions .In today’s society being equipped mentally and physically is no longer an option.

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