Tragedy too close to home; what to do?


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MrPeter
October 15, 2007, 04:43 PM
Dear THR,

Today in my email, I was sent the following terrible news:
Campus Bulletin
October 15, 2007

Sexual Assault Reported on Campus

A sexual assault was reported just before 3 a.m. at The Evergreen State College in Olympia. A female student indicated that an intruder entered her ground floor apartment in the residential housing area through a window, threatened her with a hand gun, sexually assaulted her and left through the window. The student reported the incident to campus police and an officer and residence hall staff member were on the scene within two minutes of her call. A campus sexual assault counselor also provided assistance.

Evergreen police called in a Thurston County canine team and evidence collection team to aid in the investigation.

The assailant was reportedly wearing a black ski mask, a dark sweater with a full-length zipper down the front with a lighter color along the zipper, and dark pants tucked into calf-length military-type boots. He was also wearing gloves. He was reported to be of average height and weight.

Anyone with information about this incident should contact The Evergreen State College Police Services at 360-867-6832.

Campus Police Chief Ed Sorger said this type of incident is extremely rare at Evergreen. The last forcible sexual offense investigated by campus police occurred in 2002.

Police will be stepping up campus patrols in the housing areas and all faculty, staff and students are reminded to lock doors and windows in residential units and offices, avoid walking alone on campus after dark (for an after-hours escort, call Police Services at 867-6832) and report any suspicious activity to campus police.

In addition to normal safety precautions, Police Services can also conduct a safety assessment of individual on-campus housing units upon request.
I am affected by this news in a way that I can't really put into words. It's been on my mind all day, and to be frank, I don't really know how this could be prevented with current rules and regulations on campus housing.

A little bit of pertinent information, I don't know who the victim was, but I live VERY close to this college, and go on campus daily to use the gym facilities. I have certainly walked by the bedroom window that was broken into many times over the last four years.

I feel like there must have been some way to prevent this from happening. The police are a constant presence on campus, and like it says in the article and my sig, the police were there within minutes of the *@%(! having left. The campus is fairly well lit, and the windows all have locks on them or sicks/boards preventing them from sliding open (if the lock is broken). I'm thinking something like having a shortened stick that would allow the window to open a little for ventilation (which is necessary to make these dorms livable) but not let someone it, but how hard would it be to smash the single pane glass, or lift the window off of its track?

Our campus policy allows no firearms on campus or in housing by students, meaning I can carry all I want. What could she have done to defend herself while in her bed at 3am against a "medium build" guy?

As an afterthought I guess; I feel like there is something I need to do about this, but what? I have emailed the sender of this bulletin asking for more information when it is available, but I don't feel like that's enough? I have an overwhelming sense of the need to take some sort of action?

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Tyris
October 15, 2007, 04:57 PM
Our campus policy allows no firearms on campus or in housing by students, meaning I can carry all I want. What could she have done to defend herself while in her bed at 3am against a "medium build" guy?

A knife pulled from under the pillow and thrust into the rapist's trachea would probably do the trick. Or she could have simply ignored the stupid firearm disarmament policy, maybe a prosecutor in NYC would press charges against a woman who just killed a rapist -- I doubt she'd get burned at the stake for it at college. Even still, better than being raped.

I used to carry spiked brass knuckles when I was in college and slept with a hatchet under my pillow when I lived in the dorms. You don't have to voluntarily disarm just because someone or some piece of paper tells you to.

Most college girls I knew thought poorly of armed self defense and thought only paranoid people carry knives and guns. They were all about rape whistles and emergency phones in parking lots. They were beyond hope to begin with.

-T

Ghost Tracker
October 15, 2007, 05:09 PM
Kimber Guardian Angel. Non-lethal, small, could help. Maybe a big can of BEAR SPRAY under the pillow. Honestly, when matters of personal safety are obviously MOST dire...I'm more than willing to dismiss the "campus policy". I would much rather have my daughter deal with the legal & emotional issues of BLOWING THIS GUY'S HEAD COMPLETELY OFF than to deal with the physical & emotional issues of being the helpless victim of his sexual assault.

RoadkingLarry
October 15, 2007, 05:13 PM
Heck a good set of knitting needles will do in a pinch...

yesit'sloaded
October 15, 2007, 05:18 PM
My girlfriend is well armed while at home. Our school bans defensive weapons for students as well. She took a self defense class (not the kind where they teach you to give the man your purse and scream, the kind where they teach you to kill in nasty ways like crushing a windpipe or slitting arteries) and she carries SABRE OC with tear gas and marking dye. Better than nothing I guess.

Dorryn
October 15, 2007, 05:22 PM
They call us paranoid when we arm ourselves. All the women that I knew in graduate school and undergrad followed the "it won't happen to me" line of thought. I wish more rapists lost valuable portions of anatomy to edged-weapon-armed females.

strat81
October 15, 2007, 05:27 PM
Shouldn't rape defense be taught to women in high school phys ed? Field hockey is fun and all, but it would be nice if we empowered our young women.

But yes, a nice big Ka-bar would be good for under the pillow.

My thoughts go out to the young lady.

1911Tuner
October 15, 2007, 05:41 PM
Ice pick through the temple...

Sorry. I have a special hatred for men who rape women and for anyone who harms children and the elderly.

TallPine
October 15, 2007, 06:31 PM
I am affected by this news in a way that I can't really put into words. It's been on my mind all day

Wait until it happens to someone in your immediate family ... :(

Oana
October 15, 2007, 08:09 PM
It's always felt a little more in the gut when it happens close to home. I know the feeling of wanting to "do something"...the question is always what, and how?

Do you know anyone, any instructors or pro-self-defense police officers, who might be willing to teach a class? You could get together with a qualified instructor, offer the course for free, type up the instructor's handout (bullet points and easy diagrams are nice - e.g. the Five Stages of Violent Crime) and copy it for him/her. Maybe you could figure out how to do an NRA "Refuse to be a Victim" course? I would welcome some sort of self defense program that didn't involve:
a) methods for anyone to stop any attacker in SECONDS, no matter HOW outmatched you are! (I do NOT kid. And that wasn't half the hyperbole. No, I didn't take the class.)
b) ignoring violent self defense as an option.

You could post one of Oleg's posters around campus (with his OK of course!), with a good female-oriented self defense URL, or a list of places to get GOOD self defense training. (Shooting ranges count! :cool: ) Cornered Cat, A Human Right, there have to be others.

10-Ring
October 15, 2007, 08:39 PM
A Taser & a can of red laquer spray paint can go a long way. I have learned that if you don't want to carry a weapon, the red laquer paint to the face works very well. Assailant is freaked out when they wipe their face and they see red. Also, the taser is effective & non-lethal

GlowinPontiac
October 15, 2007, 11:15 PM
if they don't allow mace a can of raid hornet spray that has the 25ft jet spray would work rather well. that stuff is nasty if you inhale the fumes and has a rather distinct odor to it.

might be too large to carry around but would work well on the nightstand.

Officers'Wife
October 15, 2007, 11:35 PM
Go to your friendly neighborhood antigue shop and get a good old-fashion straight razor. Keep it hidden but easy to get to. Opened backward with the blunt side of the blade against the knuckles (or a little lower) is easily unnoticed, easy to get into position and easy to use.

I was advised to use a horizontal slice in the area just below the rib cage but above the pelvis. Said advisor's theory was the rapist having to try and stuff his intestines back in place tends to make him forget his power trip. Don't try for the privates as the agresor will instinctively protect them. Don't try for the throat or face as the cartilage of the throat could break the blade.

The moral is never ask self defense advice from guys that used to jump out of airplanes if you have a weak stomach.

Selena

Ghost Tracker
October 16, 2007, 09:38 AM
Straight Razor? NOPE! With the quality & selection of applicable folding & fixed-blade knives available today, why pick a fragile antique requiring substantial experience to use effectively? It's like suggesting a cap-and-ball revolver. Yes, it's deadly but...certainly out-dated technology.

bogie
October 16, 2007, 09:52 AM
What to do?

This is a university that needs to have a bunch of Oleg's images put up on bulletin boards around the campus...

So...

Spend a coupla bucks on a cartridge refill for your inkjet, and then make a buncha photocopies... Carry a small bookbag if you're going through the area. If you see a bulletin board with stuff on it, add an Oleg...

Educate.

jcoiii
October 16, 2007, 10:38 AM
story from my jujitsu instructor back in college:

One of his students was assaulted while walking back to her dorm one night. Instead of fighting, she kept her wits and talked the guy into believing that she was ok with this and he could relax and they could "party." After he removed his pants, she withdrew her blade and performed a rough vasectomy. Poor guy bled out before paramedics could arrive....

ilbob
October 16, 2007, 10:59 AM
The assailant was reportedly wearing a black ski mask, a dark sweater with a full-length zipper down the front with a lighter color along the zipper, and dark pants tucked into calf-length military-type boots. He was also wearing gloves. He was reported to be of average height and weight.
Anyone else notice something notably lacking from this physical description?

jefnvk
October 16, 2007, 11:24 AM
My experience with college girls? Not much.

It is very true that many view anyone keeping a defensive weapon around as paranoid. Hopefully, some good will come out of this, and the women at this college will realize that bad thigns happpen to those that aren't paranoid, too.

atblis
October 16, 2007, 11:26 AM
Skin color. Noticed that too.

Phil DeGraves
October 16, 2007, 11:31 AM
The victim ought to sue the college on the basis that since she was not allowed to provide for her own defense by college policy, the college had a responsibility to protect her and in that they failed. Therefore they should be held responsible.

ilbob
October 16, 2007, 11:35 AM
The victim ought to sue the college on the basis that since she was not allowed to provide for her own defense by college policy, the college had a responsibility to protect her and in that they failed. Therefore they should be held responsible.
This college is a government entity. As such, the courts have consistently ruled there is no requirement to provide for the safety of those in their care.

Ironically, you might well have a case against a private college.

35Rem
October 16, 2007, 11:44 AM
Knives are good and all that...but...they require a lot of training. They are not an instant incapacitation weapon and can be used against you if you can't retain it.

Not a lot of good options in this case. Move out and provide your own means of protection, off campus. That's me, and not always an option.
Pepper and other sprays may be better, but aren't perfect either.

ilcylic
October 16, 2007, 12:15 PM
Anyone else notice something notably lacking from this physical description?

Skin color. Noticed that too.

Uh, the guy was wearing a ski mask, gloves, and a sweater. At 0300 it may well have been dark. It's entirely possible that skin color is actually unknown, and this isn't just another part of the vast conspiracy of political correctness. :rolleyes:

ilbob
October 16, 2007, 12:31 PM
It's entirely possible that skin color is actually unknown, and this isn't just another part of the vast conspiracy of political correctness.
I suppose it is possible. One would think that the description would note that though.

Oleg Volk
October 16, 2007, 12:58 PM
You could post one of Oleg's posters around campus (with his OK of course!)

Go right ahead!

buck00
October 16, 2007, 01:00 PM
I sense we are straying from the original post:

As an afterthought I guess; I feel like there is something I need to do about this, but what?

The question you are asking seems to be, not what can a female student do to protect herself, but what can you do to prevent this from happening again?

My first question for you is- are you sure guns aren't banned from campus period? Most colleges ban even a visitor from bringing a CCW on campus- it is not illegel (by law to carry) but you can be asked to leave by campus security and/or banned from campus if they catch you.

The second question (your question) is what can you do? I got the sense you were toying with the idea of a "Guardian Angels" type of patrol on campus (remember they used to be big in NYC?). I think the school would be very wary of allowing a vigilante group to operate, especially if you are a non-student. There would be too much liability and risk that a Travis Bickle type might join.

And also, what would the SOP of a campus watch-group be? College campuses can be very chaotic and different than a normal suburb neighborhood. Would you confront drunk males? You might find yourself a) very busy and b) creating fights and conflicts you shouldn't be. Plus campus security may quickly antagonize you rather than work alongside you.


So in case you were considering a night-patrol thing, I'd reconsider. JMO

What you could do is get involved with a local karate program and distribute fliers/posts to encourage college students to attend.

jefnvk
October 16, 2007, 01:29 PM
As for skin color, covered in head to toe and at night, good chance it is unknown. Read some research papers for psychology class, as well, in cases like this skin color is frequently screwed up by the victum. Doesn't seem like an easy thing to do, but it happens.

The Wiry Irishman
October 16, 2007, 01:54 PM
I've gotten three or four similar emails from my University already this semester. Its terrible and disturbing, but its also a great motivation to become active.

MrPeter
October 16, 2007, 02:22 PM
I think that what I can/should do, since I have Oleg's permission (as I interpret it) would be to take some of his posters, some that aren't too insensitive, but still to the point, and add them to a 8.5x11 piece of paper with tearaway tabs "advertising" www.corneredcat.com and www.a-human-right.com.

After that's been around for a little bit I think I could write a letter to the dean (or whoever the head honcho is) asking for them to offer a self-defense class free of charge for students, and reconsidering their policy of "weapons" on campus. Having a little bit of publicity with the fliers I think would help me gain support if I needed a petition signed or protest demonstration or something.

The current policy for the housing (which is where this took place) is as such:
Policy
Weapons include but are not limited to firearms, ammunition, anything that shoots projectiles, fireworks, knives (used as weapons), explosives and flammables. All knives other than kitchen utensils or foldable multi-tool pocket-knives are prohibited. Any knife used as a weapon is a violation of the weapons policy.

Housing is defined as including all rooms, apartments, hallways, common spaces, pathways between buildings and parking areas. You are responsible to check with your Resident Director if you are unsure if an item is banned, such as a toy or decorative weapon. If you wish to store prohibited items, such as sports rifles or bows, contact Police Services.

The Campus-wide policy is as such:
Employees and visitors may not possess, carry, or store firearms, edged weapons, blunt force weapons or explosives or dangerous chemicals on college property, to include privately owned vehicles parked on college property. These items are also prohibited at college events and functions, which take place off campus. This restriction shall not apply to weapons carried by police officers in the performance of their duties. It shall also not apply to tools that are used by employees in the performance of their assigned work duties, or otherwise legal items such as a small penknife or pocketknife carried or possessed without the intent of injuring, threatening or intimidating others.

So while it's not illegal to carry there, they can kick you out if they see you carrying. I hereby declare war on this policy.

BlackBearME
October 16, 2007, 02:38 PM
*sigh*

Every college I've been to (and I've been to 4, so far) had similar policies. Firearms I could almost understand. Didn't agree with, but almost understand. But knives?

Anything that could be used as a weapon...anything is forbidden. So what in the name of Odin are people supposed to use to protect themselves? Common sense? Intelligence? Denial?

GAH!

Tyris
October 16, 2007, 05:17 PM
Just because they tell you something does not mean you have to obey it. College students are not 5 years old, they are adults and can make their own decisions. I would never comply with a knife ban, hell, my brass knuckles and hatchet were not "allowed" either, the university disarmament policy is not worth two squirts of piss.

Their rule is unenforceable.

-T

Noxx
October 16, 2007, 05:28 PM
You know I often miss college. I enjoyed college much more than I enjoyed high school, in many ways I consider it one of the finest periods of my life.

I am however, glad that I am not in college today.

Personally I'll be damned if some yutz with a bad tie and fairy tale ideals is going to decide for me if I can defend my life or not. I slept with a coach gun throughout my college years, at a few different schools, policy be damned.

1911Tuner
October 16, 2007, 05:33 PM
Tyris and Noxx. The "Who the hell are you to decide what tools that I may or may not have" attitude is a fine old American tradition. ;)

ColinthePilot
October 16, 2007, 05:36 PM
When I was in college, the school banned guns in campus housing, and FL law banned concealed carry on ANY educational campus. Solution? I kept my pistol and sometimes a rifle in my truck (totally legal and within 30sec sprint at all times) and moved off campus where said weapons lived next to my bed at night.
We had a 3-day self defense class for our ROTC detachment. The instructor didn't advocate or discourage any weapon, provided the user was trained and practiced with it. He mentioned that if a person elects to keep a gun for defense, they should train in loading it in the dark. I quietly scoffed at this to a friend, mentioning my carry/nightstand piece is rarely unloaded. he responded "well I bet most intruders would be scared away when they hear you chamber a round." I calmly informed him the only sound an intruder will hear upon invading my house is the safety being clicked OFF.

I do like the hornet spray idea, though. no training required, not illegal.

PX15
October 16, 2007, 05:43 PM
FWIW:

My wife always has a cell phone size "Stun Gun" with her.. It's the "Small Fry Stun Gun" offers one MILLION volts in her defense, and only cost $43.95 off Ebay.

I haven't tried it personally, but my understanding is that if a person grabbed her and she pressed it against them they would shortly lose interest in the attack, and in fact if they didn't let her go quickly enough they would have the dubious honor of releasing both colon and bladder, muscle control, and the ability to think or reason beyond a "lady please get that thing away from me"...

J.Pomeroy

ColinthePilot
October 16, 2007, 05:49 PM
i forgot to mention one thing. I fully support non-lethal armament on campuses. I say this only because I remember my freshman year in the dorms. Thousands of stupid freshmen getting their first taste of booze and drugs. Add firearms into the mix and you're asking for disaster. stun guns and pepper spray in the hands of a drunk 18yr old may add to the hangover but they won't kill anyone.
When I moved off campus, I had explicit control over who was allowed in my house and total control over my guns.

Tyris
October 16, 2007, 06:55 PM
My wife always has a cell phone size "Stun Gun" with her.. It's the "Small Fry Stun Gun" offers one MILLION volts in her defense, and only cost $43.95 off Ebay.

I think it takes about 50k volts to ionize air to the point where you'll get air gap arcing between 1" terminals of most stun guns (bear with me, it has been a while since I've worked with plasma reactors). That said, voltage on stun guns means little compared to the amperage that they can deliver.

I'd rather be hit by 1M volts at 1mA amps, than 10 volts at 100A! :what:

Have you tried the stungun out on yourself? Some work better than others... They certainly hurt but the claims are really exaggerated.
Certainly, no one will lose bladder control unless you're zapping their bladder. Don't believe the marketing blurb.

-T

Officers'Wife
October 16, 2007, 07:06 PM
Hi Ghost Tracker,

While it's true there are many good folding knives out there, a girl can claim she had the razor near to shave her legs and be given the benefit of the doubt. In a college atmosphere, the campus cops are going to say that a knife of any length to be useful was kept solely to harm your fellow man.

Going back to my uncle's advice there are two facets of surviving an attack. #1 is the physical attack where you use the three basic knife cuts - 'long', 'deep' and 'a lot.' Second is the legal attack where one must justify every part of your life from the attack going back to when you were born. The straight razor may be out-dated tech, but it also gives you reasonable deniability for the second attack.

Selena

Oana
October 16, 2007, 07:30 PM
On the bright side, at least they allow folding knives. Some colleges don't even allow that. On the negative side...Any knife used as a weapon is a violation of the weapons policy. Um... :confused: So essentially, they're banning self defense with a knife? :scrutiny:

Not that I'd stop in the middle of picking up my multi-purpose penknife and say, "Excuse me sir, campus law does not allow me to use this as a weapon, so would you just step back out the way you came?"

DC3-CVN-72
October 16, 2007, 08:24 PM
Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6. I rember when I was in the NAVY and we would pull into a port overseas.The Division officer would read off all the places that were off limits. Guess where we all ended up? :evil:

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