SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — She was studying alone on the top floor of Markosian Library on the Taylorsville Salt Lake Community College campus when a man sat down across from her. To her horror, the stranger began masturbating.
Alexia Hernando, 18, the college freshman who noted she’d “never had to deal with anything like that,” simply left the library and didn’t say anything to anyone.
“Genuinely, I’m still gaslighting myself because I don’t wanna ruin anyone’s life,” she said. “I just feel guilty, if anything, talking about it. I guess I just feel bad.”
Except two days later, it happened again — with the exact same man.
This time, Hernando said she took out her phone and got pictures, reporting the incident to campus police. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Roden said that was the right thing to do.
“If something does not appear to be right, report it instead of thinking this is just something out of the usual, but not reporting it,” he said.
SLCC said within hours of the report being filed, an email was sent out to “everyone in our college community about the incident.” That email included Hernando’s photo and a written description of him. Hernando said she understands now that instead of being quiet, she could prevent the same situation from happening to another person.
“I feel like if I didn’t speak up, maybe other people have experiences and no one has said anything about it,” she said. “And it’s just going to continue to happen. I feel like if no one says anything, then it’s just going to continue to happen until something’s done about it.”
Police say they’ve increased patrols on campus and at the library, especially.