Woman attacked downtown encourages buddy system

SOUTH BEND, In. -- The woman says she was just walking to her car when the alleged assault happened. She is protecting her identity for fear her aggressor may strike again.

“He grabbed my arm, spit on me, then somebody yelled HEY and he ran back there North on Main Street.”

She now wants to bring attention to what she calls a growing problem. Immediately following the incident she said a woman approached her and told her the same man had assaulted her a few weeks prior.

“I don’t know what his intentions are.”

She’s now afraid for her safety along with the safety of other women who frequent the streets of downtown.

She said the police officer who reported to the scene told her he knew the man she was describing and called him a trouble-maker in the area. She said the man appeared to be homeless.

“He’s gonna end up hurting somebody you know really hurting them.”

The woman and her coworkers are now adopting a buddy system to walk to and from their cars. Brandy Henderson, who works with the victim, said the problem is getting out of hand. She said women are getting assaulted and raped and something has to be done.

“Our concerns are being downtown and having somebody doing that to somebody, there’s girls that have been sexually assaulted downtown.”

After checking police records, there were more than 50 reported cases of assault in South Bend between Sept. 8 and Sept. 16. One of those reports were for rape.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened in downtown, there’s been other people attacked, maybe not by the same person, but something needs to be done. We work down there every day, we have to walk a block to our job, we shouldn’t have to be afraid of walking by ourselves to and from work.”

The woman who says she was assaulted called 911 immediately following the attack but the police officer that came to the scene did not file a police report. It’s unclear why he chose not to report the incident. Employees at the South Bend police records department said that information would be in the dispatch notes. Those notes have been requested.

Stay with ABC57 for more on this developing story.

CORRECTION: The video for this story was removed because it alluded that 50 assaults were reported in downtown South Bend between Sept. 8 and Sept. 16. That is not the case. 50 assaults were reported in the entire city of South Bend between Sept. 8 and Sept. 16.

The video for this story also said that two rapes were reported in South Bend between Sept. 8 and Sept. 16. One of those rapes were transferred to SBPD from a different city. It did not occur in South Bend. The text for this story also reflects those changes. We regret the error. 

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