I didn’t hear about this until listening to a story about it on local radio while driving home yesterday. I guess with a lot of media attention on the zombie walk that went horribly wrong, this awful awful story got buried until an arrest was made yesterday:
More from a local t.v. affiliate:
It’s not clear yet whether the 29-year-old arrestee was the same “trusted family friend” who accompanied the 17-year-old victim to the con. Although I have to say if it is, you’d have to be INSANE to trust an unrelated young man with a teenage girl. I’d even hesitate trusting stepbrothers or cousins. If it wasn’t the same guy, then this “trusted family friend” was an epic fail of a chaperone. There are also many unclear, unconfirmed details. In one version of the evening’s events, the girl went off on her own after getting into an argument with friends. In another version, she was at a party with her assailant or chaperone and the party broke up after a noise complaint. All we do know is she was found bloodied with severe head injuries and she might have been sexually assaulted. She may not be able to remember very much if/when she recovers.
I’ll be blunt. When conventions were the sole province of the weird, the misfits, the bookish, and the kind of people whose idea of a wild Saturday night is singing naughty filks, I never heard about stuff like this happening. It’s not to say sexual assaults didn’t happen or never happened, but none of the older fans I knew ever seemed worried about it. But now that big cons like this one are mainstream, mainstream problems come along for the ride. SDCC draws about 130,000 actual attendees plus a lot more who come downtown to looky loo and participate in off-campus activities open to the public. That’s the population of a small city and cities have problems with crime and tragedy. A few years ago, it was the guy who stabbed another guy in Hall H. Then it was the lady who was hit by a car and died while trying to run for the Twilight line. This year, it’s the woman run over in the zombie walk and now the girl who got beaten and probably raped.
Plus there’s this charming tale of how Adrienne Curry had to put the smackdown on a pervert who attacked a friend in costume:
Don’t mess with Catwoman or her whip!
Again I will be blunt. You can put down all of the policies you want–though I think there are some things the con itself could do to improve safety for female attendees–or post on Tumblr “men shouldn’t rape” all you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are predators in this world and there always will be. A predator doesn’t care about the law, rules, boundaries, pop feminists, or college girls with catchy hashtags. A predator does what he does until he is stopped.
If you ask me there should be something like the Guardian Angels to watch out for con attendees because the police can be stretched pretty thin at a big event. They could report assault and battery, they could accompany anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable going around alone at night, and they could keep an eye out for criminals. Self defense classes aren’t a bad idea; I was acquainted with someone who was mugged several years ago. The crook made the mistake of picking on someone with a black belt. She got a few minor cuts from the mugger’s knife. He got put in the hospital with some broken ribs. Cons will not allow you to bring in real weapons but if you’re out at night heading to parties or bars, I’m not against bringing along whatever’s legal and you’re licensed/trained to use.
I wish too that nobody had to worry about any of this stuff but it’s a crappy world after all. Be on your guard and look out for one another.