Local idiot reports assault on Facebook, but not to police

Story here.

A student at UW Whitewater, wearing a T-shirt with the message “Legalize Gay” was punched in the face Sunday night by assailants who also screamed some unspecified anti-gay slurs. She didn’t report the assault to anyone in any official capacity.

Actually, I’m not sure that she reported it at all – but someone, maybe her or maybe a friend she confided in, put the story on Facebook. It wasn’t until some university staff member saw it there that the police were contacted and had any chance to investigate. It’s not clear how long this took, but the story broke today, and only one of the three local stations had it. So my best guess is that the police got the news either yesterday or today.

The story says that the gay community in Whitewater is living in fear. The police say they have no suspects. And unless somebody gets drunk and brags about it, or they attack somebody else who calls 911 fast, they probably won’t.

I hope this kid reflects on the idea that her failure to report may be part of the reason her friends are living in fear.

Maybe the friend -> Facebook -> staff member chain doesn’t have the whole story and she had a reason not to report it, like that assault in Thunder Bay that had a pit thread a few months back.

Remind me – what was the big secret?

Calling her an idiot is a bit harsh.

He started it, then lost.

I don’t think so. Can you think of any good reason not to report a violent assault to the police – assuming you didn’t start it. Didn’t your parents teach you to call the police?

Perhaps she’s embarrassed that her family would find out she was wearing such a t-shirt. So she’s willing to let these guys walk to spare herself some embarrassment. Which maybe isn’t stupid, but is craven.

Perhaps she actually is a closeted lesbian. She didn’t have to come out in order to report this.

It’s certainly possible the whole story is a lie, and a if she started the fight, then yes I agree that not reporting it would be expected. How often do the criminals call the cops to report themselves?

Do you think it is likely that if she reported the crime immediately the perpetrator would have been caught?

Also, is there a reason to think this is a serial assaulter and not just a one-time assault? Is there good reason to be living in fear of attack – any more so than before this attack occurred?

FWIW: I got punched in the face once while in college and I didn’t report it. I was drunk and had only the vaguest description of the guy. I was embarrassed too. A couple of days later I went to the hospital to get checked out and they reported the crime. When the cops interviewed me, I was embarrassed about how little information I could provide. We didn’t have FB back then, but if we did I am sure someone would have posted about it. My friends certainly joked and emailed about it.

I mention this because, as others have said, there are a lot of possible reasons she didn’t report it. She could have felt she instigated it. Or was too drunk when it happened. Or didn’t get a good look at the guy. When you get hit at random, it is a real shock and you are physically dazed. Your first thought isn’t to knock on the nearest door, get to the nearest phone, and call the police. Your instinct is to get home, get your bearings, and asses the damage. By that point, the campus police aren’t going to find anyone.

Don’t know. Maybe, maybe not, depending on what else might have been going on in town at that time, police-wise. If they were just two yahoos strolling along who sucker punch a convenient target, and she could give a decent description of what they were waring, and the police were there quick enough to cruise around a few blocks, they’d have a chance. There’s no chance at all if she doesn’t call.

No particular evidence, though if they decided to punch out someone who looked weird, it would be surprising at all if they repeated if they found another opportunity.

And no, I doubt that there’s a good reason for the community to be living in fear, It was a punch, not a serious beat down or rape or murder. But these kids are still learning about the real world, and so everything new and bad seems more shocking and worse than it really is.

She got punched in the face and you’re mad at her?

It would be super sweet if she had reported it. However, I’m not naive enough to think that the magic of reporting a crime minutes after it occurs will keep everyone save from everything forever. She had her reasons, be they good or bad and rather than insulting her for being unable to come up with what you consider the correct decision in a period of stress, I’d rather hope she uses this to move forward in her personal growth and that we as a community can examine where we’re coming from that some people consider it ok to punch other people in the face.

Fear of retribution is a good one. Could be that she actually did know her attackers, and is scared that they (or people they know) could hurt her again if she goes to the police.

We’d better not tell him about how many women are sexually assaulted and don’t report it; his head might explode.

  1. Further emotional stress brought on by dealing with the police and media.

  2. Futility of police involvement not resulting in arrests and convictions.

  3. Risk of being assaulted again.

Would I have reported the assault to police? Yes. Would I call the victim an idiot for not doing so? No.

Let’s not victimize the victim here.

You are trivializing the harm caused by being punched. You may live in a world where is is not uncommon to be assaulted out of the blue, and where people easily shrug off such assaults as being part of life. Most people, however, do not live in such a world.

Being unable to walk the streets without fear of being violently assaulted is serious.

First, assuming it’s true, if you were punched in the face and cannot reliably identify your attackers the real world chances of their being caught are close to zero. If I am attacked and shaken up but otherwise physically OK, not going to the police for a further re-living of the incident when there is almost no chance of the perps getting caught is (honestly) not a crazy decision.

Secondly per the truthiness issue, we’re assuming the story is solid gold true, and that’s not a given. People make up stuff for attention all the time, and “I was assaulted” hate crime stories are a very popular genre for some people wanting attention from friends and peers. If the story was not going to withstand offical police scrutiny that may also be a reason not to report it.

In this case she’s an idiot for a whole different set of reasons.

I was thinking about this as I wrote the OP. Given how women who’ve been raped have been treated by police and the court system, I wouldn’t call them stupid. I have mixed feelings about this. I would call some of them, especially those who know their attackers, selfish, as they are leaving their attackers free to go about victimizing others. And the attackers understand and use this.

OTOH, I’m pretty selfish my own self, though perhaps in different ways, so it’s an emotion I can relate to.

Muffin, I’ve got a secret to tell you: You’re not able to walk down the street without fear of being assaulted. :eek: Look, it happens every day. The chances of the police giving a shit, let alone catching the guy, are nil. She had the choice between adding a +1 to the official tally of assaults or not. Either way, the perp would get away with it. So why bother reporting it?
And “living in fear”? Seriously? Of being punched in the face while walking down the street? Is anyone else laughing hysterically at that overreaction?

Reporter: Did you know that people get punched in the face from time to time?
Gay resident: OMG, they do?! I had no idea! :eek:
Reporter: How do you feel about that?
Gay resident: Well now I guess I have to live in fear…FEAR, I tell you! Living in it! FEAR!

Here’s $5 that says this incident doesn’t repeat for months.

It reminds me of the story from a year ago of the two girls who were stuck in a storm drain in Adelaide. Fortunately, they had a mobile phone with them. Unfortunately, they chose to use it to update their Facebook status, rather than, say, calling the authorities for assistance.

Really? Did they EVER call the authorities? Did someone else read their status and call for them? Was their final status update “drowning”?

That is light years up the ladder of stupidity from the Whitewater kid.,

One of their friends call the authorities, and they were rescued. Here’s a new story on them.