Three women were violently raped, a fourth survived a knife attack and attempted armed robbery, and two others reported being approached by a male exposing and fondling himself while on their morning jogs, according to police.
All these incidents were reported in the last month in Grand Bahama.
As police continue the search for the perpetrators, one woman is cautioning females to be extremely cautious as they move about.
Speaking with Grand Bahama News under condition of anonymity, because her assailant is still at large, the survivor of the knife attack said her encounter could have ended differently were it not for quick thinking.
“I had been out for the evening with my friend on Saturday, May 28, and I was dropping her home. Unfortunately, I left my driver’s window down,” she said.
The women were sitting in the car outside the friend’s North Bahamia residence chatting about their evening when a dark-skinned male approached shouting expletives.
“The person came cussing at me, shouting that he wanted some ‘flipping’ money,” the victim recalled.
“I told him I didn’t have any money. He had this huge, huge knife in his hand.”
Noting that parts of the horrific event are pretty sketchy in her memory, she said she did remember her friend saying she was retrieving her cell phone from her purse to call the police.
This was after the friend pulled her out of the aim of the assailant.
“She thought that he was going to stab me in the heart,” the woman said.
The man left a serious cut under her right eye, missing it by inches.
“I must have fought him because there was blood all over me,” said the woman, who appeared calm as she spoke of the attack.
“All the time, I was keeping my finger on the window operator trying to put it up. The window must have gone up and injured him because suddenly he disappeared,” the victim recalled.
It was not until much later while at the hospital that she realized that in addition to the cut under her eye, there were bruises on both sides of her head, and on her right arm and side.
After the attacker ran off, she said, she sped away from the scene.
Asked why she appeared so composed after the violent confrontation, the woman said, “While giving my statement at the police station a few hours later, I heard a report come in about a lady being raped in the South Bahamia area.
“I felt bad for her and said to myself, my situation could have been worse, but I am alive to tell the tale.”
No one in custody
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Stephen Rolle confirmed that police received three sexual assault reports, and an attempted robbery and assault report, all in the Bahamia area.
Rolle said a male was taken into custody in connection with the first rape.
“The male has since been released as there was no evidence to connect with the case. We are still actively investigating all these matters,” he added.
The rapes allegedly occurred on May 20, May 25 and May 29.
Police said the most recent incident was reported to them around 2 a.m.
According to Rolle, uniformed and plainclothes officers were dispatched to a residence in South Bahamia, where a woman said she was awakened by two dark-skinned males.
“She reported that the men robbed her of $520 and had sexual intercourse with her against her will,” he said.
The victim, a foreigner, has since left The Bahamas, Rolle added.
Since the attacks, he said, police have beefed up patrols in the areas of concern and have intensified their efforts in apprehending the individuals responsible for the crimes.
“I don’t want to say too much about our plans at this time, so as not to alert the perpetrators,” Rolle said.
In the meantime, he urged females, particularly those living alone, to ensure that their doors and windows are always locked, especially at bedtime.
“Also, when returning home at night, if you observe anything that seems suspicious, contact the nearest police station, call 911 or 919,” Rolle advised.
“Further, I would recommend anyone, not just females, to invest in some sort of security measure to protect themselves and their property.
“With the police doing their part, we also want the public to assist the police. Whatever they may see, anything suspicious, please give us a call and we will come to those areas, try to locate those persons, and make a check.”
Asked whether the victims were able to describe their attackers, Rolle said one of the females provided the police sketch artist with a likeness of her attacker.
“That sketch was released last week,” he said.
“The other two victims are working with the sketch artist and, hopefully, another sketch will be released shortly.”
Fitness coach Lashayne Thomas, who had a man expose himself to her while jogging, shared a few safety and self-defense tips.
“Walk or jog in well-lit areas, exercise in groups of two or more, make sure your phone is handy and equipped with a GPS tracking app that a close family member or friend can access,” she advised.
Thomas added that learning basic self-defense moves is also helpful.
“How to stun your attacker, striking in vulnerable points of the body – eyes, throat, private area – areas that will cause him to react,” she said.
“If possible, carry a repellent -– pepper spray or something of the sort.”
Additionally, she suggested, if possible, gather as much information on the assailant – height, eye color, weight, color of clothing, etc.
“And if there is a vehicle, try to remember the make, color, and license plate number,” Thomas said.