Sex Assaults Spur Rally

Vancouver Courier,
April 2001

 

A LOCAL RAPE RELIEF SHELTER is outraged Vancouver police have not released a composite sketch of a man who has sexually assaulted three women in Kerrisdale since last November. 

Tamara Gorin, a rape counselor for 11 years at Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter, said police quickly release composite sketches of people who have committed property crimes, like bank robbery, but no longer automatically provide composite sketches of sexual offenders. 

"We haven't delivered this criticism for some time, but the time has come again," said Gorin, just prior to addressing a rally in Kerrisdale on Monday afternoon. "We want police to get back into the practice of releasing composite sketches. It's the obvious thing to do." 

So far, police have only said the man is possibly Asian, in his early 20s, with an athletic build. He wears baggy black and beige clothing and, during one attack, was wearing a black FUBU jacket. Each attack has taken place in the afternoon and in public, though police are not saying exactly where the incidents took place. 

"This is not a common sort of attack, most rapes take place in our homes and usually by a man we already know," said Gorin, adding fewer than 10 per cent of rape, sexual assault and battering attacks reported to Vancouver's 24-hour women's crisis line are by strangers. "Violence like this can either make a community pull together or it could make people become isolated from each other." 

Monday's rally on the Arbutus corridor at 42nd Avenue drew about 100 people, who marched through nearby streets, drawing attention to the fear the man has caused among local women. 

"My friends and I know that staying home, being afraid, won't stop this guy," said Kerrisdale resident Sheila Jarvis. 

Women in the area are advised to walk together, share access to vehicles and keep an eye out for anyone who may be at risk of assault. 

"Walk with women we don't know on the street," Gorin told the rally. "Just go up and offer to be a walking partner for the time we are walking on the street together."

 

Gorin said Vancouver police have no policy regarding release of composite sketches of sexual offenders.

 

Det. Greg Neufeld, head of the police department's Sexual Offenses Squad, was not available for comment at the Courier's press time, however, a squad spokeswoman said a composite sketch of the Kerrisdale rapist may still be released.