An alleged rape involving a man and woman near LSU over this past weekend has sparked much conversation about the incident.
Jacob Witz, 22, was arrested this past Saturday (July 26) after he allegedly raped a woman he had met on Tinder, a social media dating application that allow users to meet people who are nearby.
Witz was apprehended at his apartment at Southgate Apartments on Nicholson Drive and remains in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Witz doesn’t have a prior arrest record, but was issued a misdemeanor from the LSU Police Department for filing a false police report in Nov. 2010, claiming he was looking for his girlfriend because she was going to commit suicide. That claim though was proven false, as she found in his dorm room.
Saturday’s alleged incident happened near LSU, however, it’s unknown if the woman is a student. Witz attended LSU between 2010 and 2014, but it’s unclear if he has graduated.
As incoming students become accumulated to campus, Kathryn Saichuk with LSU’s Health Promotions speaks with them about encountering new people they may meet.
“We try to stress to students and to everyone, to be careful about how much information you put out there for other people to look at,” she said.
“We also caution them about the pictures they post on the Internet.”
Tinder, like many other social media websites, is a tool to informally meet people.
“As far as these dating websites, if you meet someone via the Internet, you need try to get some information about them before you actually meet them in a face-to-face environment,” Saichuk said. “But if you do choose to do that, then number one, you want to meet in a public place that’s very busy with other people. If you need to get help or assistance you can do it right then and there.”
Saichuk suggests letting friends know where and when a date is set to take place.
“You can always get some of your friends to be there,” she said. “Maybe not sitting right there with you but be there in that environment.”
Saichuk says the Health promotions department hasn’t dealt with any cases similar to the alleged reports from Saturday, but they have dealt with cases where students have began dating someone and after a period time, they didn’t want to continue the relationship.
In some cases, Saichuk says, people don’t want to leave a relationship, which could lead to inappropriate behavior such as cyber-stalking.
Saichuk says there are programs set up for students to receive counseling and for an official to intervene and speak to the person who is giving unsolicited contact.
The LSU Police Department is currently work on an application for students, staff and faculty called LSU Shield, Saichuk said. The application will allow users to notify friends when the user plans to go somewhere and alert those friends if the person doesn’t make it to their desired location. An official launch date has not been announced.