UIC student sexually assaulted near campus

February 2, 2012 4:31:58 PM PST
Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago are being warned about an off-campus sexual assault.

A 24-year-old UIC student was abducted at knife point while walking down the street near Paulina and Harrison between 2:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Two men grabbed her, pulled a hat over her head, forced her into their car, and sexually assaulted her, according to authorities.

Chicago police say the men punched and beat the victim, knocked her unconscious and left her in a parking lot.

The victim was able to walk to a nearby hospital. She was treated and released.

"It hits home," said Julie Dapkus, Rush student. "I'm a woman that same age, so it could have easily happened to me and any of my friends. It's hard. It's heartbreaking."

The sexual assault has UIC students second-guessing their weekend schedules.

"We were actually debating whether I should come on Sunday to pick up something for testing on Monday," said Jacqueline Thomas, UIC graduate student. "And I don't think I'm going to do that anymore."

"You're not safe nowhere," said Michelle Hamilton, medical patient. "It's a shame you can't walk around, you got to be alert of your surroundings."

Although the assault didn't happen on UIC's campus, university police warn students to travel in groups, especially at night. They urge students to use well-lit sidewalks, locate emergency call boxes, and report crimes promptly to police.

Some women say they want more security.

"I would like to see more police officers ride through," said Dominque Lilly, Rush employee. "I've been standing here for I don't know how long and I haven't seen one ride-through, especially after something like this happened."