Keep calm, carry on

I’m sure by now, you’ve all heard about the possible abduction that made the news a few weeks ago in an underground parking garage at St. George and Sussex. If you haven’t heard about this, you can read about in the university’s official letter regarding the incident.

I don’t want to talk about what did or didn’t happen; I’ll leave that to the investigators. I do want to talk about how nervous I have been since I first heard the story. I’ve been parking in garages on campus for three years now. I’ve never felt even remotely nervous about it and I’ve never felt the need to look over my shoulder. This has all changed for me in the past few weeks.

Other people don’t seem to have been shaken up as much as I have, and it makes me wonder if I’m the only one who can’t just “keep calm and carry on”. I’ve been avoiding underground parking like the plague! I haven’t parked in a garage on campus in over two weeks and I’m not sure if I ever will again. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Actually, I was supposed to be in the garage in question at around the same time the incident was said to have occurred, but I decided against going to the library that morning and stayed at home.

It could have been me. Does that sound self-centered or selfish? Well, regardless it’s the truth. I’m wondering how many other women on campus are feeling the same thing. The fact that the investigation has yet to determine if and why the abduction took place isn’t helping my nerves.

How do I get back to normal? Well there’s a few options from the Community Safety Office and Campus Police.

1. Walksmart — walking escorts offered between 7pm and 12am. Call Call 416-978-SAFE (7233) to get an escort, allow for a  5-10min response time.

2. Wen-do — there are classes taught in this self defence technique at the AC. These classes are specifically for women.

3. Emergency Call Stations — these stations (the tall poles with blue light on them) are placed throughout campus and are meant to provide a way of contact with campus police in the event of an emergency. Here’s a map with the locations of call stations around campus.

I’m trying to fit in a Wen-do class into my schedule. I’d be much more at ease if I knew I could feel confident that I could ward off someone if I needed to.

One last note…if you need to speak to someone about feelings you might be having regarding this incident, the university offers counselling through the Health and Wellness. Here’s the link.

-Lori

ps…On Sunday, I parked underground in the garage in question. I was with a large group of people, so I wasn’t nervous. I might venture underground again this week…baby steps!

“keep calm carry on” photo used under Wikipedia’s creative commons licence.

Emergency call station photo, obtained from the University of Toronto’s Campus Police.