Volume 95, Issue 53
Wednesday, December 5, 2001
Are women safe at Western?
Large number of attacks reported
By Erin Conway-Smith
Recent attacks on female students have increased concerns about security on campus and in the London area.
As The Gazette reported yesterday, early Monday an 18-year-old female Western student was grabbed from behind by a male while walking along a pathway near the Medway parking lot and Somerset apartments on Richmond Street.
She screamed and was able to break free from the suspect and ran to her residence, where police were called, said London Police Department Const. Ryan Holland said.
LPD and the University Police Department are currently investigating the assault.
There have been numerous cases of attempted attacks on females in London since September, including one sexual assault.
In the early hours of Dec. 1, a 17-year-old female high school student residing in the Admiral Drive area awoke to find a male standing at the end of her bed, who, when spotted, fled.
On Oct. 19, a 33-year-old Fanshawe College student was stabbed and sexually assaulted.
Since September, there have also been numerous incidents of naked men seen masturbating in the vicinity of campus.
Const. Wendy McGowan of UPD encouraged students to use Foot Patrol and emergency intercoms located around campus, as well as pay phones, which have direct buttons to UPD.
Sera Vavala, University Students' Council VP-campus issues, said students have approached her with safety concerns on campus. "I strongly encourage students who have safety concerns to come to me if they want them dealt with," she said.
Vavala said she has been working with UPD and Physical Plant to install more emergency phones and lights on campus.
"It is a fine line to walk between being safe and still having your life," said Nicole Nelson, Women's Issues Network co-ordinator.
During the past week, many men at Western have participated in the national White Ribbon Campaign to express their opposition to violence, abuse and harassment against women, said USC King's College councillor and campaign organizer Marty Zahavich.
By wearing a ribbon and signing posters, men are saying they will not contribute to the problem of violence against women and will work to help stop it, he said.
with files from Jessica Leeder and Kristina Lundblad
The following is a list of assaults and incidents of indecent exposure that have recently occurred in the London area:
- Sept. 14 & 15 naked male seen behind TD Waterhouse Stadium
- Sept. 30 naked male seen west of Saugeen-Maitland Hall parking lot
- Oct. 11 19-year-old female Fanshawe College student attacked from behind in the parking lot of a Second Street apartment building on, near Oxford Street. She fought off her attacker.
- Oct. 18 female awoken by a male lying on top of her in her First Street apartment. She was not sexually assaulted.
- Oct. 19 33-year-old female Fanshawe student sexually assaulted and stabbed on a walkway near her Leroy Avenue residence
- Oct. 23 man in his early 20s seen masturbating in the tunnel between the University Community Centre and Social Science Centre
- Oct. 24 & Nov. 16 naked man spotted on-campus
- Dec.1 17-year-old female awoke to a male standing at the end of her bed in the Admiral Drive area, the male fled the scene
- Dec. 2 18-year-old Western student grabbed from behind along the pathway behind the Somerset apartments, but was able to break free
Update - December 13
Police: Dec. 2 incident was a fake
Police now say a woman who claimed she was assaulted behind the Richmond Street apartments has recanted her story.
London Police had earlier reported a female had been grabbed on a pathway behind the apartment complexes, but according to Const. Ryan Holland the complainant has changed her story.
"It was a false complaint," he said.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001