Volume 95, Issue 13

Friday, September 21, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Hands off

Editorial Cartoon

Hands off

Keep it in your pants - seriously.

A naked man caught masturbating has been sighted numerous times at Western since early spring. The man has usually been spotted in one of the many dimly-lit pathways that criss-cross campus and behind some residences.

At this point of the investigation there are no clear facts.

Police do not believe the culprit has been the same man in each incident, though it would seem the logical assumption. Police have no clear description or leads in any of the confirmed incidences.

This begs the question, why is it average citizens have sighted the culprit numerous times, but police seem unable to make any progress in his (or their) apprehension?

One thing does remain clear: these incidents are not to be taken lightly.

At this point, no victims of these sightings have been physically attacked by the culprit. Caution is needed, but it is also important not to ring deafening alarm bells all around campus either.

The Western community, especially the female population, simply need to be highly aware and extra conscious of their safety while journeying through secluded areas of campus.

A vast majority of the periodic sightings of the offending individual or individuals have taken place during daylight hours. The misconception weirdos only come out after dusk is a potentially fatal one.

Yes – these events could lead to nothing and be relatively harmless.

However, it is also important to realize how quickly moderate situations can progress into extreme ones. Last year, the pathways of York University were terroized by a serial sexual predator. London and the serene bubble of Western are not immune to such crimes.

There are simple things anyone can do to ensure their own safety. Walk in groups or, at the very least, a duo – even in the daylight hours.

Do not make a habit of using hidden pathways or secret short-cuts through wooded areas. It may save you five minutes in time, but are those five minutes worth the potential risk?

It is a sad and regressive fact that in our society, despite our many advancements in the areas of technology, culture and politics, female safety issues are still a major concern. A reality one cannot ignore.

One must carry a hope that, one day, humanity will evolve to a point where we get beyond the necessity to fear each other. Incidents such as these sightings remind us such a moment is likely far beyond our lifetimes.

Society should be free of such stupid and bestial behaviour.

To the culprit or culprits: welcome to civilization.

Do what you will and what you like behind closed doors, but the concept of public indecency is a definitive affront to the concepts of higher learning.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001