Tales of a community and its rapist

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Students write of how one man affected their lives

Jim Quan is a third-year journalism student

A few weeks ago I was stopped by the police. I was on my way back home from a late-night snack run to a Scarborough convenience store. The police pulled me aside and began interrogating me. They wanted to know what I was doing out so late, where I was coming from and where I was going.

One of the officers took my name and phone number down so he could run it through his computer. A few minutes later he came back and told his partner it was okay to let me go. Once the cops told me they were stopped and questioning every male on the streets of Scarborough after midnight, I began to relax a bit.

At first, the whole experience startled me. But looking back on it now, it’s pretty reassuring to know the police went after the Bedroom Rapist with such conviction. And now that a suspect has been arrested, maybe I won’t have to worry about being stopped by the police the next time I’m on a midnight snack run.

 

Sheila Avari is a third-year journalism student

It became a ritual in my house to check all the windows and doors. Then I checked whether the sensor lights in the front and back yards were on. Next on my list was to see that all the drapes were closed. Finally, I made sure there was no one in the house who wasn’t supposed to be there. After doing these checks, there was one thing I knew for sure: it was just me and my pepper spray.

I lay in my bed with my warm covers tucked under my chin. I closed my eyes, prayed to God, and asked Him to help me prepare for another long night. But on most of these nights I was unable to sleep. News that there was a serial rapist on the loose meant that I couldn’t enjoy a good night’s rest.

How could I sleep, anyway? I was scared to death of the Bedroom Rapist. And it doesn’t help that I live in a Scarborough townhouse.

The hallway and spare room lights stayed on through the night. I held my makeshift weapon tightly — a metal rod used to keep the runners on our carpeted stairs in place. My cellphone sat ready on my bedside table. Next to my pillow lay a plastic cylinder of pepper spray, given to me to protect myself while downtown and on the subway. (Thinking I would never find a need for such a device, I laughed when it was given to m. Now I am grateful for it. It looks like I’m more likely to use it in my own house than on a downtown street.)

I wonder what the Bedroom Rapist would have done if his sister, mother, aunt, cousin, girlfriend or wife had been assaulted. It really upsets me that he has no value for women. The Bedroom Rapist exploited women, threatened their lives and violated their bodies.

And there wasn’t much I could do to prevent him from attacking again. I shouldn’t have to live in such fear — no woman should.

Since Sept. 26 though, when a suspect was arrested and charged, my routine has returned to normal. I can now turn off the lights, crash on my bed and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

 

Roula Meditskos is a third-year journalism student

It’s 1:30 a.m. on a Wednesday and I refuse to go to sleep, even though I have a 9 a.m. class.

Can you blame me? I live in Scarborough.

Yes Scarberia — sacred land of gangsters, robbers, murderers and rapists. I am a proud resident.

I thought my fears were over when the police caught a man who was assaulting women at various bus shelters in my area during the summer. Then another psycho came along — the Bedroom Rapist — who had me and aevery other woman in Scarborough terrified of going to sleep at night for fear of being raped in our homes.

I guess it’s not enough that Scarberians like me feel intimidated at every street corner, doughnut shop and RT station. The crimes are even happening right inside our homes.

Now that a suspect has been caught, I hope they cut off his penis.

I used to laugh when people asked me, “You’re from Scarborough? Isn’t it dangerous there?”

What a bunch of wusses, I used to think.

But with the growing number of murders, assaults and rapes in the community, that question isn’t so funny any more.

Because of the Bedroom Rapist, not only have I forced myself to take precautions when leaving my house, but I am extra careful when going to bed. This means doing three things: Checking the locks on the doors and windows; leaving the kitchen light on to make it look like someone’s awake; and of course, closing all the creaky bedroom doors.

My paranoia about living in Scarborough should come as natural instinct by now (you know, next to hunger, thirst and the need for shelter). After all, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a rapist in our area. I should be a professional at crime-proofing myself and my home, right?

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea of constantly watching over my shoulder (and now my bedside). But hey, that’s the price one pays for living in an area frequently referred to as “Scompton” and “Scarlem.”

I hope whoever reads this has a good night tonight. Chances are, if you’re a woman from Scarborough, you won’t.

 

Lencil James is a first-year Diploma in Arts student

This Bedroom Rapist has some serious issues. I couldn’t swear at him or call him a pervert, but what I could say was that he needed to be caught.

Here we had n individual going into people’s homes and sexually assaulting women. He stuck many times in a market area and couldn’t be caught? What the hell were our police officers doing? Instead of questioning anyone who fit the description or stopping a woman who was walking home late, they should have found the freaking man! He was out there sexually assaulting women and the police were sitting in their offices trying to “figure it out.” They should have gotten off their asses sooner to find the man.

He went to the same area, only assaulted women, and they couldn’t find him? I guess you can say I blamed the police — I did! Why did they wait until the number of assaults became so high before any action was taken? After the first assault, they should have been cracking down! Authorities do not take rape or any other type of assault seriously. “Oh, a nine-year-old girl sexually assaulted in her own bed — but we can’t do anything!” Bullshit! This guy was going to continue raping until he got what he wanted (whatever that was). Hey, maybe if he killed a girl they would have caught him sooner.

And now that a suspect has been arrested, I don’t believe it’s the Bedroom Rapist. I need some type of proof. But if it is him, I think someone’s going to try to copycat him.

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