Two sexual assault crimes and a sexual battery incident took place at the University Park Apartments within a two-week?span, leaving students frightened and faculty concerned.
Two of the attacks took place on Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 and’ happened inside the UPA. The other incident, which occurred on Sept. 12, is still under investigation.
According to Christina Villalobos, community relations officer at the Department of Public Safety, the suspect of the incident that occurred on Sept. 16 was arrested by CSUN police and later transferred to the Devonshire Community Police Station.
Each incident was separate and all three victims knew their attackers.
The first few months of each new semester have a greater likelihood for sexual assault cases to take place on campus, said Villalobos.
‘The reasons are because people are making friends with people they don’t know, people are getting used to not living at home on their own. They don’t have a lot of limits because there is not an adult figure to set those limits,’ she said, ‘Students tend to be too trusting too soon.’
Villalobos said the victims of sexual assault vary in age.
‘Females who are between the ages of 16-24 are four times more likely to be raped’hellip;In most cases, it happens by people who you know,’ Villalobos said.
She also said many victims of rape are not the ones that always report the case; instead the crime is sometimes reported by a third party.
‘We are informed of sexual assaults in a few ways…Either the victim themselves, a third party, or the student health center, as they are mandated reporters and required to notify law enforcement if a sexual assault is reported to them,’ said Villalobos.
It is very important for students who are assaulted, males or females, to report the incident right away to authorities and not to wash away the evidence by taking a shower or cleaning their body so police can have better chance of identifying the suspect. Many people who are victims of sexual assault do not report the crime because they are ashamed or scared to share it with anybody.
‘No matter what happened to you, you should still call and notify us,’ said Villalobos. ? ‘If you don’t feel comfortable enough to report it to authorities, at least talk about it to people you trust.’
Each academic year, police officers meet with new student residents and their families to educate them with the different drills and rules of the dorms. ?Some issues they discuss include alcohol use, crime, and different drug substance use.
There are two officer teams known as the Community Policing Team that patrol the dorms with bicycles and by foot, from Wednesday through Saturday until 4 a.m.
Maham Hamid, a freshman who lives at the UPA, was concerned when she was asked about the sexual assault cases that took place in the same area where she lives.
‘It is your responsibility. ?You should know the people you bring into your dorm,’ she said with frustration.
Another UPA resident, freshman Mary Ellis, said she will be willing to help someone out if she finds them being attacked by calling police for help or screaming as loud as she can to grab attention. ?
‘I am very cautious about who I invite into my place, not everyone can be trusted,’ she said.
Religious studies professor, Anne Eggebroten, heard about the three sexual assaults from a student in class and was shocked about the case.
‘You cannot assume any place is safe, it can happen anywhere,’ said Eggebroten.’ ‘Students pay a lot of money to attend CSUN, they should demand more security (and) demand it to make your dorm safer,’ she said.
Gender and Women Studies professor, Dr. Nayereh Tohidi, said these assaults are discouraging and disheartening in the university environment. She said the way to prevent such actions is to be surrounded by people who are educated and know their human rights.
‘Our culture is suffering too much aggression and violence,’ said Tohidi.
Tohidi also said that the Department of Gender and Women Studies started offering a course about women and violence and she believes this is the way where both genders will be more aware of their rights.
‘Students need to be aware of the outcome for the actions they take such as health issues, disease, and mental illness that could be caused by such actions,’ she said.