Luckily, stranger attacks in Ann Arbor are rare; here's some advice
Outstanding collaboration between a sharp scrappy assault survivor and the Ann Arbor Police Department resulted in the capture of an accused would-be juvenile rapist near Slauson School.
With the exception of murder, “stranger” rapes - or in this case thankfully only an attempt - are taken more seriously than any other crimes. The reason is that they fuel widespread fear, and as a wise prosecutor once said, “There’s no such thing as a non-serial rapist.” Rapists don’t just stop unless they're caught or something extraordinary happens in their life to force them to stop.
In the past, stranger attacks in and around Ann Arbor account for only a few of the sexual assaults that take place each year. The most common type of sexual assault in Ann Arbor is “acquaintance” rapes. Most involve intoxication in some form or another.
These cases - although rather easy to solve - are hard to prove because usually only two people in the world know exactly what happened. Barring any obvious signs of physical trauma, it boils down to a jury deciding between a victim’s version and a suspect’s version of what took place. They're devastating crimes that take their toll on all involved.
At one of the seminars I attended, the instructor said a female student is 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in her first year of college than in any other time in her life. The reason given was it's the first time young students are on their own and making their own decisions - which can be tough, especially if those decisions are clouded by drugs or alcohol.Â Â
For the young men, you’ve been told this before, but always remember: No means No and Yes from someone who's highly intoxicated means No! Man-up and wise up - intoxicated “consent” doesn’t count, and you can find yourself in a world of criminal trouble if you don’t heed this advice. The constitution may say you're innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. True enough, but once you're accused of rape, you are looked at differently by those around you. It may not be fair, but that’s the way it is.
If you believe you've been the victim of a sexual assault, Washtenaw County has an excellent SART (Sexual Assault Response Team). SART is a cooperative effort involving your local police, specially trained SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) nurses and sexual assault counselors (e.g.Safe House at http://www.safehousecenter.org/ or U of M Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) http://www.umich.edu/~sapac/). Reach out to a counselor, the hospital or the cops, and all of those entities will work together to try to help you.
If you know of someone leaving home for the first time, a great book for that person to read is "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin DeBecker (https://www.gavindebecker.com/books-gof.cfm). Through the years, I've suggested this book to many victims, parents and citizens concerned about crime. All who read the book said it really helped them.
Finally, the police are right - you shouldn't wear iPods and other MP3 players when you run, walk or bicycle. The police will always try to give the SAFEST advice. It is unarguably safer to exercise outside without listening to personal stereos. Â
Is it fun to exercise without music? NO, but it is safer!