In Chicago, a Chicago Police officer says he was injured at a bar early Monday morning. He claims a stranger punched him in the face in an alley nearby, despite the officer’s body camera capturing the encounter. When the officer approached the attacker, the cop alleges the assailant reached for a knife.
Less than 24 hours later, there were more alleged incidents of sexual assault across the country.
In Sacramento, Calif., reports surfaced that two young women who attended a college rugby game over the weekend were groped and fondled by drunken fans at an after-party. And a man was allegedly assaulted in a Dallas-area bar by five people, including a bar clerk, after he asked to use the restroom.
Sex assaults in bars and clubs
These are shocking claims — and, sadly, just the latest, because sexual assault in bar and club settings is frequent.
Alcohol often plays a major role. According to a 2015 report from San Francisco State University, bars are the fastest-growing source of sexual assaults.
Like the Chicago cop, there are no hard statistics. But research indicates that a person is assaulted approximately every 15 minutes in an U.S. bar or club. For sex offenders, this is a gold mine.
Related Image Expand / Contract October 2015: A woman who survived a 2014 stabbing is found guilty in the death of two men she’s accused of murdering. (Washington Post / Meghan Gillham)
“It’s a shared problem among a number of persons,” Scott Cooverman, a Chicago attorney and legal expert on sexual assault, told FoxNews.com.
“They’re all attracted to opportunities to commit sexual assault — be it inside a bar or restaurant, hotel room, or apartment,” he added.
He cautions that many sexual predators keep an eye out for potential victims.
“As people get home drunk from bars, they’re going to want to hook up. That’s where the predatory people come in,” he said.
Lawmakers look for solutions
Megan Walker, deputy assistant director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, said if you’re a sexual assault victim, never just walk away.
“You are in your own world for three to five minutes after the incident. You have lost the ability to make a rational choice and, in a case like this, your fates are still with that person,” she said.
Walker pointed to programs in Germany and Sweden where the approach is to confront the suspect and his “culture” of violence toward women.
“Law enforcement has a great opportunity when there are problems in a community. They get to confront the problem and say, ‘this is a violent culture, you need to make some changes,’” she said.