Second bathroom incident this fall
Bathroom breaks in the Science building’s second-floor women’s restroom can be scary. A woman was informed that there was a man hiding in the next stall, and that he was trying to look into the stall. Despite multiple witnesses present, no one was able to get a good look at the man’s face.
“I was shocked. I didn’t know what was wrong, I just couldn’t move, really. I was taken by surprise that it was even happening,” says the victim who wished to remain anonymous. “If the other girl didn’t see him peeping over the stall, I would have never known he was in there.”
The incident comes after a similar episode occurred on Sept. 1, at a women’s restroom in the main campus library wherein the suspect was identified and arrested.
However, according to Santa Monica College Police Sgt. Jere Romano, the suspect involved in the incident has not been caught, a contributing factor being the delay between the actual crime and the police report, which the victim admits happened hours after the event occurred.
Nonetheless, the incident is listed in the campus police’s crime logs as one of four sex-related crimes within the last four months.
“He didn’t want to leave the bathroom even though the girl kept yelling at him and threatening to call police. He kept saying, ‘I’d rather not get out of the restroom. I’d rather not leave,’” the victim reported, referring to the suspect’s behavior.
Emily Vance, another student at the scene, heard the screams and saw the small crowd of women exiting the restroom as the man came running around the corner, saying, “It was a mistake.”
After the incident, Vance and the victim told campus police their version of what transpired, as well as a full description of the suspect: A tall white male with dark hair and eyes, wearing a black hoodie, skinny jeans, and sandals.
However, according to Romano, all incidents should be reported directly to the police.
“If you see it—report it; then get to a safe place, where you can see and approach us when we arrive,” said Romano. “We need the purest, most unadulterated information to come from the victim, or the eye witness in this case.”
Vance feels that after so many incidents in such a relatively short period of time, that she now has to take a buddy to the rest room, advice that Romano reiterates.
For the most part, Romano states that the campus is relatively safe which allows students to drop their guard, but he goes on to advise that students develop networks and let each other know where they plan to be.
“Definitely be wary. I think a lot of people just get so lost in their electronic devices that they’re not alert to what’s going on around them,” said Romano.
The victim, who has learned from the experience, recommends that others immediately call the police and notify them.
“I would also recommend to take a picture with their cell phones,” said the victim.
For her own personal assurance, the victim says that she is going to take a self-defense class that are offered at SMC, which she also recommends to other female students, as threatening situations tend to come unexpectedly.
In the case of any emergency, crimes may be reported from any of the emergency call boxes located in parking lots and on all campuses. Also, an individual who reports a crime may remain anonymous if he or she desires.