ATHENS, Ohio — Ohio University Police and Athens Police confirmed on Monday that since last week, four more rapes have been reported involving OU students on or near the city campus. The new reports bring the total number of rape investigations to six, just since students moved-in at the campus on August 23rd.
A further report of sexual imposition involving a student has also been made recently.
ABC 6 / FOX 28 first reported this story last Tuesday, when just two rapes had been reported at the campus.
The chiefs of the Athens and Ohio University police departments released a joint statement saying that two of the recent reports may have a common suspect. The chiefs also promised increased police patrols in the areas where the crimes have been known to happen. Ohio University Police reported on Twitter that most rape investigations on-campus involve attackers who know their victims, and gain their trust.
Students are fighting back. At least six sororities and fraternities with houses near the city campus have hung signs, denouncing rape and defining the need for sexual consent between both parties.
"We just want it to end, and we want our women to feel safe," said Sydney Numbers, president of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. "We don’t want to have to carry our keys in our knuckles and our pepper spray in our bag, and worry about whether we’re getting home or not. "
An exhibit at the Trisolini Art Gallery on campus called "What Were You Wearing?" is also drawing attention to empowerment and survivor advocacy. The exhibit features clothing rape victims were wearing when they were attacked, to underscore that clothing does not matter to a rapist.
"We’re creating a climate of reporting. We’re creating a climate of support, to let survivors know it is not their fault," said M. Geneva Murray, the curator of the exhibit and director of the Ohio University Women's Center.
Ohio University Police and Athens Police are both asking for the public's help to identify potential suspects in the rape cases. OUPD can be reached at 740-593-1911; APD at 740-592-3313.
Anonymous tips may be made to Crime Solvers Anonymous at 740-594-3331.