by Erika Templeton
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by Erika Templeton
ALLSTON—Rapes in the neighborhood have jumped over the past year, police said. Reported cases rose 36 percent, from 11 rapes and attempts between January and July of 2007 to 15 during the same period in 2008, according to a statistical report released by the Boston Police Department.
The increase comes despite a 2007 initiative to help reduce rape attempts by educating bar managers in rape prevention. The initiative, which called for cooperation between police, bar owners,
Officials say the increase stems from a rise in date rapes among the student body, many of which involve alcohol. Dan Daly, the district D-14 community service officer, said the spike in rapes can often be traced to “guys and girls meeting at the local bars.”
“There’s definitely a greater risk among student women,” said Simon Smith, 23, a manager at Wonder Bar. “They go out for a while, meet some guy at the bar, and all of a sudden, his house is closer.”
The women’s bathroom at Wonder Bar used to have signs that read “Don’t be the next victim.” Smith said they were torn down and the city won’t fund new ones.
The law says penetration must occur for an assault to be categorized as rape. More often, cases fall under the broader category of sexual assault, and go unrecognized.
Annual reports from the Boston University Police Department use a looser definition of “forcible sex offenders.” In 2006, there were seven incidents of sexual assault on campus alone.
Officer Daly said police efforts to raise awareness may have led to the recent spike in reported sexual assaults. “A lot of women probably heard about it, went to a lecture and said, ‘Hey, that happened to me too.’”
by Erika Templeton
ALLSTON— Joan Pasquale fights everything from crime to trash to poison ivy.
“It’s just doing what comes naturally as being a neighbor,”
she said in her heavy
Pasquale has been volunteering in Allston-Brighton since she moved to the community 39 years ago. Now she heads the Parents and Community Build Group, a non-profit, volunteer organization.
“It’s our neighborhood, and when we fix it, we benefit first,” she said. “It only takes two minutes of your time to say, ‘Can I help you?’”
Pasquale frequently motivates hundreds of volunteers for events like the group’s biannual
Ryan Woods, director of public and private partnerships with the
Charlie Rockwell, head of another Allston-based volunteer group, Keep Allston Decent, enlists Pasquale’s networking prowess. “What we lack in my group is the numbers,” he said, “and she was really willing to connect us with people.”
Pasquale is in tune with residents’ needs, specifically those of the many low-income, immigrant families that come to Allston.
“This is their town, and this is what we’re all about,” she said. “We’re all about representing what the community is truly made up of.”
Pasquale focuses on hosting free and open multicultural events, as seen in her contribution to the Allston Village Street Fair, on Sept. 14. She used the event to inform residents about easy access to education, health care and job opportunities in the community. “People are more receptive to it in a more comfortable social environment,” she said.
Pasquale said the physical appearance of Allston is one of the neighborhood’s biggest challenges. “I find it extremely disappointing,” she said. “There’s no reason why Allston shouldn’t look like the South End. It did at one time.”
But Pasquale is not complaining. “An attitude of ‘here I am and here’s my list of change that I want to see,’” she said, “That’s not going to work anywhere.”
Instead, Pasquale is working to raise thousands of dollars in donations to improve the neighborhood. "She's very persistent," said Rockwell. "You get a lot of 'no's when you do non-profit work. It's not glamorous, and it's not fun and you get a lot of doors slammed in your face. But she doesn't let it stop her."