When the lies of one effect the lives of many

Ben Wimmer

On Tuesday, Aug. 23 around 10 p.m. a 19-year-old female UNCW student reported to UNCW police that she had been attacked on campus. The attack reportedly occurred at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20. The victim reported that she was jogging on a campus sidewalk near the Student Recreation Center and as the police alert read: “…she was approached from behind, grabbed, and forced down to the ground. A struggle ensued. No injuries were reported. She described the suspect as a generally large, but not overweight, white male, approximately 6’4″ tall, 35-40 years of age, with short brown hair (slightly balding), no facial hair, and wearing a dark colored t-shirt, and blue jeans.”

This past Tuesday, Aug. 30 UNCW police issued an update on the situation. The victim apparently fabricated the attack and no reason has been reported for the false claim.

Fabricating stories, especially violent incidents in which the fabricator claims to be a victim, can be dangerous to the reputation of an individual as well as that of an establishment such as a university. The woman who fabricated the attack has had a negative impact on UNCW and its atmosphere. Her false claim has caused worry among other students and it has helped to sour the university’s reputation as having a safe campus.

Since Tuesday, Aug. 23, female students have felt apprehensive about walking on campus after dark, knowing that an attacker is still at large. Male students have not been able to walk on campus after dark without a feeling of unease as passerby’s glare at them suspiciously. UNCW has received negative press from local media outlets as well as from the community in general. In short, fabrication is wrong.

If this particular story has been recanted due to the fact that the victim fears retaliation from the attacker, then that is equally wrong. This is not meant to discourage victims of violent crimes from contacting local law enforcement officials when crime does occur. Perpetrators rely on the unwillingness of victims to come forward to authorities, and the only way to counteract that is to report the crime.