Wednesday, September 12, 2007

York University Rapes


Campus security heightened in wake of sex assaults

There is a frightening story out of York University about two predators who sexually assaulted and attacked two women while they were sleeping in their dorm rooms. The ordeal that these two women endured, as well as a third women who was unsuccessfully attacked, is enough to make me absolutely sick. What type of people would do this? How can we ensure that our campuses are safe from attacks like this?

Campus police have doubled patrols and authorities have posted alerts across campus advising women to be vigilant with their personal safety.

"I'm pretty sure it happened on our campus pub night when there are a lot of people around," student Jillian Owen told CTV News. "I guess they just slipped through."

According to authorities, two men entered Vanier College residence located on Keele Street near Steeles Avenue West in the early hours of Friday morning.

They sexually assaulted two 19-year-old women who were asleep in their unlocked dorm rooms, and made a failed attack on a third female within the residence.

University officials say they are reviewing residence security measures in the wake of the attacks.

"We do have porters on the doors who are supposed to make sure individuals sign in," said university spokesperson Alex Bilyx. "However, people are in a new environment and they may sometimes forget that."

Police confirmed two women were taken to hospital, treated and later released.

The suspects entered six rooms in total but were eventually scared off.

Police described the two suspects as both white and in their early 20s: one was medium height with short dark hair and a dark complexion, and wore blue jeans and white running shoes; the other was about six-feet tall, had short light-coloured hair and also wore blue jeans.

Detectives with the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit said the rapes were particularly disturbing because there were two attackers working together within a short period of time.

A spokesperson from the York Federation of Students said she is pleased with the way the institution is handling the situation.

York University, and the surrounding area, has been plagued by a number of sexual assaults in recent history. A woman was sexually assaulted in April while walking to her residence, and two women were raped in the same area of the city in 2006.

Two other women were assaulted in 2000 close to campus, while another woman was also attacked on campus within the same year.

"I think you should be locking your door when you go to bed," said student Karen Dias. "I would never sleep with the door open."

Last week, a 23-year-old woman was viciously raped and beaten unconscious in a Carleton University chemistry lab in Ottawa.

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