Downgrading Rape

I live in Springfield and would love to ride my bike to work in west Eugene during the dry season, but it’s not the fear of other vehicles, death or crashing that stops me … it’s the transients, hijackers and rapists.

And before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I am aware that not all transients are criminals and not all hijackers are rapists. But all transients and strangers who approach are scary in the wee morning hours when you’re alone on a bike path.

In the last six months, several people have been attacked on bike paths, and I just read that, in the Alton Baker Park incident, the Eugene Police Department called the victim’s rape an “unlawful sexual penetration, not rape” — a shocking downgrade to an offense that protects the criminal, and a massive upgrade in offensiveness in downgrading that woman’s value as a human being. It is downright barbaric.

I called EPD today to ask what they are doing about this problem and was told that they are short staffed and unable to keep the bike paths safe at all times. It is up to the users of the bike path to toss that coin.

“What about video surveillance,” I asked. Nope. That’s on us, too. If we want security, we’re gonna have to go knock on the doors of City Hall. 

I dunno, maybe we should just carry guns, and if someone gets shot EPD could call it “unlawful penetration of a bullet.”

Michele Walter