Detroit teen rape victim: ‘Nobody stopped to help’
Detroit — A 17-year-old sexual assault victim wondered Friday why motorists who saw her struggling with her attacker didn’t stop to help.
The girl, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, was standing alone at a bus stop on 7 Mile, just east of I-75 at about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 7, on her way to school, when she said a stranger approached her and announced he had a gun.
“I thought I was about to get robbed,” said the teen, who is pregnant. “He put me in a chokehold. People were driving right by. I know they seen what was happening, but nobody stopped to help.”
The man dragged her behind a nearby building, where his gray or silver Chrysler 300 was parked.
“I told him I was three months pregnant,” said the teen. “But that didn’t stop him.”
The man forced her inside and raped her.
The girl described her harrowing experience Friday during a Crime Stoppers of Michigan press conference, held in a vacant lot near the site of the attack. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest. If information leads to an arrest by midnight Friday, the reward is doubled.
As she was being assaulted, the girl said she noticed several credit cards strewn on the floor of her attacker’s car. “There was Windex and rubber gloves in there, too,” she said.
The girl said she also saw a large scar on her assailant’s stomach. She described him as a 5-foot-6 black man about 50 years old, with a medium complexion, salt-and-pepper hair, and stubble on his face. He wore a black ball cap bearing a white insignia, a gray hooded sweatshirt, gray jogging pants, and old gray, black and white Nike Air Max sneakers.
“I want this man to be caught,” said the victim’s mother, whose name is also being withheld to protect the victim’s identity. “He raped my baby. It’s too much...”
The woman’s voice trailed off as she wept: “I can’t take it. Please.”
Detroit Police Detective James Aude said investigators are pursuing leads in the case, but asked anyone with information to call the Sex Crimes Unit at (313) 596-1950; or Crime Stoppers at (800) SPEAK-UP.
“We’ve gotten several leads, and several names to follow up on,” Aude said, adding it’s “highly likely” the man will rape another female.
“He seemed very comfortable with what he was doing, as if he’d done it before,” Aude said.
Malik Shabazz, head of the Marcus Garvey Movement, is organizing a rally at 3 p.m. Sunday. As he’s done in the past, Shabazz will lead volunteers through the neighborhood, knocking on doors in hopes of finding someone who saw the attack.
“The police can’t do it alone,” Shabazz said. “We’re not safe in our homes; we’re not safe at gas stations; we’re not safe anywhere — and it’s going to go on and on and on until we stand up and do something about it.
“From little kids to 93-year-old women, they’re being raped,” Shabazz said. “When is it enough?”
Wanda Akilah-Redmond, vice president of the Marcus Garvey Movement and a member of the Detroit School Board, expressed disgust with the assault, and what she said was apathy about crime in the city.
“I’m at the point now where I have no more words,” she said. “How many more speeches can we make? How many more mothers have to cry? There are no more words to say. It’s about action.”
The victim made a plea for anyone who might know something: “Turn him in. He shouldn’t be free to do this to anyone else.
“I’m taking it day by day, but it’s hard,” she said. “Nobody wants to get raped. Nobody wants to be messed up for the rest of their life.”