Flasher incidents call for increased awareness

On six separate occasions, an unidentified male has exposed his penis to five female students and one male student before getting into a car and driving away. Four of the occasions are believed to have been perpetrated by the same individual.

The suspect is a white male with light brown hair, blue eyes and no beard; he is believed to be 25 to 35 years in age and approximately 5’10”. He usually enters campus in either a blue or silver-grey minivan.

Director of Public Safety Ron Stowe said that his office is doing all they can to help protect students and faculty in our community.

“Dealing with someone who is exposing themselves is very serious to the welfare of the community, especially to young females, who are quite unsettled to having someone expose their genitals in a non-consensual way,” said Stowe. “It is something we take very seriously.”

Stowe said that behavior such as one exposing oneself in a sexually suggestive way is indicative of a person who could do more harm.

“Many times, people who exhibit these behaviors are testing their boundaries,” said Stowe. “Those behaviors sometimes graduate from ‘flashing’ to rape.”

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 25 percent of college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate.

The report also said that women between the ages of 16 to 24 are most likely to be sexually assaulted.

Director of Student Judicial Affairs Sandy Bowles told The Guilfordian that in most assault cases, aspects other than the assault itself play a role in whether the act gets reported.

“Usually, in most of the cases seen at Guilford, sexual assaults are mixed up in a blanket of drugs and alcohol,” said Bowles. “Students don’t want to come forward for fear these additional factors may come into play.”

According to the Department of Public Safety, only two incidents of student on student sexual assault have been reported in the last year, though many times sexual assault goes unreported.

In a Guilfordian survey, where 52 community members were polled over a two-day period and asked if they would report a sexual assault, 50 percent said they would, 9.6 percent said no because it would be embarrassing, 7.7 percent said they would not because no one would believe them, 21.2 percent said they do not know the right channels to report such activity, and 11.5 percent said flat-out no.

First-year Aviva Dintenfass said that in spite of the recent incidents on campus, she still feels pretty secure.

“Having attended other colleges, I know that I feel much safer in the Guilford community than I did in any of those institutions,” said Dintenfass.

Some, however, say that the college has a responsibility to protect its members. Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Julie Winterich told The Guilfordian that it is not up to students to create a safe community — it is up to the institution.

“I think that Guilford has an opportunity both to improve its services for assault victims and to provide training for all members of the community about what assault and consent are so that we can better create and sustain a safe community,” said Winterich.

A sophomore who wished to remain anonymous told The Guilfordian that she wondered about the aftermath of these crimes.

“I feel safe, but I do not trust the Guilford community and administration to have the means to deal with the after-effects of sexual assault on campus,” she said.

Currently, Public Safety is urging all members of the community to be extremely vigilant and cautious of their surroundings.

“If anything seems out of the ordinary, students are encouraged to report suspicious activity to Public Safety or Greensboro Police Department immediately,” said Stowe.