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Two women assaulted, police seeking witnesses

By Alexandra Craig - 26 March 2015 3

woman walking alone at night

ACT Policing is seeking witnesses who can assist in the investigation of an indecent assault which took place on campus at the University of Canberra last week.

On Wednesday 18 March, a woman was walking along a footpath at UC (on Kirinari Street, towards College Street) when a man approached, dragged her into the bushes and indecently assaulted her.

This is not okay.

Police have said that the victim fought back and the offender fled, possibly due to another person approaching the scene.

Good on this woman for fighting back when she was able to! I hope she gave the offender a good kick in the pants resulting in permanent damage.

This morning police have said there has been another attack on a woman, this time on Tuesday at the Australian National University. The victim was approached in the carpark near the Fulton Muir Building on Daley Road and assaulted. Police do not believe this is linked with the crime at UC and are yet to release details of the offender’s appearance.

After two attacks in just over a week, I am immensely sad that women now can’t feel safe walking around their university campus. While I think that women should be able to walk around at 3am in their underwear if they want to without feeling threatened or unsafe, the woman at UC was attacked at 9.30pm. Hardly a time where you would be looking over your shoulder. She was probably just walking back to her car after a late class.

I attend UC part-time and there have been many times over the past few years where I have wandered through campus alone late at night. This could have easily happened to me.

UC is very poorly lit, so I hope that an event like this is enough for the university to sort things out and invest in some decent lighting. All students and staff deserve to feel safe on campus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Perhaps UC can use some of the cash it is getting from paid parking to make the campus a safer place. While I have never actually seen a security guard on campus, I am told they are there and that they will escort you to your car or bus if you request it. I had no idea that this service existed. This is definitely something that should be better communicated to students and staff.

Almost a fortnight ago a 17-year-old woman was stabbed and murdered in a random attack while she was walking in a Melbourne park. The homicide squad chief Detective Inspector said at the time: “I suggest to people, particularly females, they shouldn’t be alone in parks.”

No. Wrong answer. Assaults like this and the ones we’ve seen in Canberra recently are never, ever the victim’s fault. There needs to be greater education on this issue. We should be teaching people ‘don’t assault’, instead of saying to people ‘don’t get assaulted’. Of course we need to be vigilant, but this should not be the only message we are sending.

Canberra has a reputation as a really safe place to live, and of the most part, it is. But events like random attacks on university campuses, and the recent murders of Tara Costigan, Sabah Al-Mdwali, and Neil Wilkinson send shivers up my spine. We all have the right to feel safe at university, at school, at home, in the workplace, or simply just walking down the street, no matter what time of day it is.

The offender is described as being about 1.80cm (5’11”) tall, with short hair, an Australian accent, and wearing a black hooded jumper.

Police believe there may be one or more potential witnesses that can assist the investigation. If you can assist or saw a suspicious person in a black hoodie in Bruce at the time of the incident, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a report online at https://act.crimestoppers.com.au/

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3 Responses to
Two women assaulted, police seeking witnesses
bd84 11:07 pm 26 Mar 15

It’s time people stop quoting only parts of what people say to suit their own agenda and essentially make stuff up. Here’s the whole quote of what the police commissioner said:

“I suggest to people, particularly females, they shouldn’t be alone in parks. I’m sorry to say that is the case. We just need to be a little bit more careful, a little bit more security-conscious and we as a public need to look after each other,”

The quote encourages women to take precautions, that is all, nothing about it being the victim’s fault.

Yes you should be able to walk safely alone at night without being sexually assaulted. I should also be able to safely walk through the park counting wads of $100 notes without being mugged. There are bad people out there, and we will never be able to guarantee that the small number of bad people out there won’t be waiting in that park. The police recommend people take precautions to mitigate the risk of the bad things happening, avoiding walking alone at night is a valid recommendation.

chewy14 2:01 pm 26 Mar 15

“Assaults like this and the ones we’ve seen in Canberra recently are never, ever the victim’s fault.”

Informing people to utilise risk management strategies is not and never will be “victim blaming”.

Trying to say that we can solve these problems by telling people “don’t assault others” is about as useless as pissing into the wind. These evil people know what the laws are and are willing to break them because they don’t care about you or me or anyone else. They aren’t listening.

So whilst you are correct that we do need education programs to try to break through to them we also need to inform the people who are listening how they can lessen the chances of those attacks happening to them.

When I was randomly assaulted and robbed late at night a few years ago, the police officer who took my statement told me that I should have taken more care and not been where I was (public park) in the state I was (intoxicated). Did I scream abuse at him about “victim blaming!!!”?

No. Because I knew he was right.

Evilomlap 12:45 pm 26 Mar 15

To be fair, the Victorian police officer who made that remark was not implying that the assault was the victim’s fault. He was commenting on the sad reality that much as we’d like to live in a society where it’s perfectly safe to walk alone through a park late at night, this is unfortunately not the case. Far too often police see the unfortunate result, so before we criticize them and label them ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for the statements they make, spare a thought for the fact a great many of them are traumatised by the things they have to see on a daily basis. They may not always word their statements perfectly, but their intentions are rarely callous.

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