UC Berkeley Student Reports December Sexual Assault

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A UC Berkeley student who was sexually assaulted on campus in December reported the incident to UCPD last Wednesday.

The student was walking by the southeast entrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union at 2 a.m. when she was grabbed from behind by an unknown suspect.

The suspect was described as a white male, 6-foot-2 in stature, 18 to 22 years old and smelling strongly of marijuana. The suspect did not appear to be homeless, said UCPD Lt. Doug Wing.

The student was able to fight off the suspect and escape, according to a police report.

Wing said the student was African American, but declined to comment on her age or year. There are currently no suspects or leads and no witnesses have come forward.

"I don't think she really wanted to report the case," said UCPD Assistant Chief Mitch Celaya.

Celaya said that assaults will not be reported for multiple reasons, including the trauma of the experience.

"The last thing you want to do is relive (being sexually assaulted)," Celaya said.

He also said that some may feel reporting the crime will not help them.

According to UCPD 2007 crime statistics, eight sexual assaults occurred on campus, seven of which were forcible rapes.

Wing believes the sexual assault numbers have remained stable over the years.

Paula Flamm, manager of social services at the UC Berkeley Tang Center, said there are more victims of sexual assault than those who come to the center for treatment.

"What we know is that most students don't report (the assault) and most students don't go to counseling," Flamm said.

Last month, a series of sexual assaults of three UC Berkeley females by a predator prompted police to seek community assistance in apprehending the suspect.

Wing said there are precautions that students can take in order to avoid sexual assault encounters.

"At night time, there's more risk to any type of violent crime," Wing said. "People should utilize our night services. They should stay in well-lit areas.

Both Wing and Celaya said that alcohol is a major factor in sexual assaults.

Celaya said what ultimately matters is caution.

"Be aware of your surroundings, particularly if late at night or early in the morning," he said.


Contact Crystalkay Fairrington at [email protected]

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