Women on Toronto’s campuses learn about crimes the hard way
KJ Mullins-Toronto: Going to university in Toronto should be one of the most exciting times of a young woman’s life. Sadly for many of these young women it can also be a time when they have to deal with sexual assaults.
For one student that has meant staying at the library all night until the dawn has broke to remain safe at times. Emma recently graduated from York University but is still lives at her residence in the ‘Village’ this summer while studying for testing for medical school. When she started at York four years ago she had no knowledge about crimes on campus.
“There was no information for me as a new student. Students find out about the crimes the hard way,” Emma said during a phone interview. “My friends and I don’t go into the Village at night without a male friend. It’s safer to stay at the library too because the bus stops running at 3:00 a.m. The only other way to get home is to work and that’s not a safe option.”
Emma told me about a friend’s recent scare that highlights one of the reasons that campuses in Toronto are not safe for young women.
“My friend was on the bus from Finch Station (a Toronto subway station that serves York University). When she got off the bus she noticed that this guy was following her. He even started talking to her. She felt really uncomfortable so she alerted the campus security. She asked the security officer to walk her home to her place in the village and he refused to,” Emma added that the girl had to run home with the man following her.
Emma’s mother Anne is very concerned with the fact that her daughter lives on campus. “I am glad she has graduated and will be relieved when she moves off campus at the end of the summer.”
Anne said that she is very concerned about the fact that some of the students are leaving their doors and windows open this summer because their homes do not have air conditioning. “I find it frightening that the girls never go into the village after dark because of the high crime rate,” Anne said, “When Emma started at York we had no idea about the number of assaults that take place there. These past four years it’s all I’ve heard about. I am very glad that she is out of the school now.”
Just yesterday there were two separate attacks on young women on Toronto campuses, one at York and one at the University of Toronto.
“York did alert students about yesterday’s attack,” Anne said adding she believes that recent negative press led to that alert.
Thursday morning at 5:00 a.m. Toronto Police responded to a break and enter call at Assiniboine Road, near Sentinel Road, in the Village of York University. It is reported that at about 4:45 a.m. a young woman, 22, woke up to find a man on his hands and knees close to her bed. The woman screamed and the suspect fled the home.
The suspect is captured on video. The suspect is described as black, late?teens, 5’8″, with a thin build and short stubby dreadlocks.
More frightening is the attack of a woman, 19, at Emmanuel College, on the University of Toronto campus, on Queen’s Park Crescent later Thursday afternoon.
The young woman attended what she thought was an information session at the campus set for 4:15 p.m. When she arrived she found that there was no one in the assigned room. Shortly later the suspect, a man known to the victim, left a washroom wearing a dust mask. It is alleged that the male offered to assist the victim in confirming the location of the information session.
The suspect then returned to the washroom asking the victim to help him with some repairs. The victim entered the washroom with the suspect who then locked the door. The victim was then grabbed and forced to the ground. She fought back and was able to escape and alert campus police.
It is alleged that the information session was a ruse to have the victim be at that location.
Muhammad Umair Jafar, 21, of Brampton has been charged with forcible confinement, sexual assault, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, disguise with intent and overcome resistance with choking.
Police believe that there may be more victims.