Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Gory Details

Although official "Safety Alert" mass e-mails from the University of California used to be brief and cryptic compositions with very little information about the details of crimes on campus, these missives now use a different rhetoric that presents complex narratives of the events that occurred, complete with times, places, persons, and even emotional affects, as this official sample demonstrates.

On Thursday, May 29, 2008, a female UCI student was waiting out in front of Langson Library late in the afternoon when she was approached by a young man. He introduced himself as "Danny", a student from another (unknown) school. Danny and the UCI student talked in front of Langson Library for two hours. Danny then suggested they visit the Anteater Pub to eat or drink and they walked over to the Pub at 7:30pm.

While at the Anteater Pub, they continued talking and consumed several beers each (no food). At 9:30pm, the female student was tired and told Danny she had to go home; Danny offered her a ride and she accepted. They walked to Danny's car in Parking Lot #1. Danny's car is only described as silver in color (no further description). Danny drove the female student out of Parking Lot #1 and made a hasty turn into Parking Lot 3-A (adjacent to the Merage School of Business and across from the Social Science Parking Structure). The parking lot was empty. The female objected and asked why he had turned into the empty parking lot; Danny told the victim he wanted to talk some more.

Once parked in Lot 3-A, the student and Danny talked for another hour or so. Danny then unzipped the victim's jeans and reached in, touching her pubic area several times; no penetration occurred. The victim verbally resisted and Danny stopped. Danny then put his hand into the victim's shirt, grabbing her breasts. Fearing for her safety, the victim fled the silver car and ran away toward Langson Library at 11pm. Danny started following the victim on foot for 100 yards, calling to her to stop; Danny returned to in his car and left the area. The victim made good her escape and arrived at Langson Library.

The victim was upset over the incident, and did not immediately seek police assistance. She sat outside Langson Library for two hours before being spotted by others who notified police at 1am. The victim provided the below suspect description; she was not injured.

Although I support providing these more elaborated narratives of alleged sexual assaults, in the interest of feminist consciousness-raising as well as law enforcement, I also worry that the novelistic level of detail in this version may encourage Internet "spoilers" to be skeptical of the account and indulge in victim-blaming, so that information excess spurs disputing the authority of a given source almost as much as information paucity can.

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