Students React to Sexual Battery on UF's Campus
(Click on small image to see UPD sketch of suspect)
University of Florida police say it all began at Cantina 101, a club near midtown in Gainesville. A UF student, who admits she had been drinking, accepted a ride at around 2:00 am from a man she didn't know. After that, she said it didn't take long before he was sexually battering her in the car. Fortunately, she escaped from the car around Fraternity Row and West Fraternity Row on campus, where she was picked up by a passerby and taken to Shands. Students I spoke to at UF say she should have been more careful.
“I think it’s awful. I think that you shouldn’t have to be afraid of getting hurt or injured when you go out and have a good time," says sophomore Jackie VanLaningham. "Now obviously you have to be careful when you do go out but still...nobody deserves that."
Students varied in their reactions to the news that somebody was sexually beaten on the campus many call home.
"I know I wouldn't be getting in the vehicle with a 30 year old man that I'm not familiar with," says Blaise Blakely, a 4th year student at UF.
Graduate student Heather Peterson says she's "actually kind of surprised this kind of thing doesn't happen more, honestly. I think people need to be more careful."
Police advise anyone who is alone and who has been drinking at a restaurant or club to get a ride from a friend, or call UPD or SNAP. Any of those will get you home safely, police say.
“If you are alone at night, which we would prefer you not to be but if you are stay in well lit areas," says UPD Sergeant Kristy Maculan, "walk against traffic and try to avoid any alleyways or bushes or any type of hiding areas.”
Police are still looking for the suspect: a black man in his 30's with a full beard, wearing a red shirt and long shorts.
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