Some women say attempted sexual assault won't keep them off the trails
Anchorage police are still looking for a man suspected of trying to sexually assault two women on the Chester Creek Trail near Valley of the Moon Park.
Police said the first attack happened Tuesday evening around 7:20 p.m. when a man ran up behind a woman, grabbed her and tried to pull off her clothes before fleeing on foot. The second attack, which happened Wednesday evening around 8:20 p.m. was very similar. Police believe the same man is responsible for both attacks.
On Friday the news wasn't stopping some women from using the bike trail, including Connie Sanders who said she rides the trails nearly every day and has no intention of stopping.
"I keep my eyes open, I watch what's going on,"she said.
But it's what Sanders didn't see that day that bothered her.
"I've been 10 miles this way and I'm on my way back and no sign of any bike cops. And if there's any day they should be here it should be today," she said.
Police have promised bike patrols on the trails while they investigate.
Two other women who were jogging together on Friday said they feel safe on the trails despite the news but they also take precautions.
"I study marshal arts and part of that reason is because I am an Alaska Native Woman," said Saagulik Liz Hensley. "We have higher rates of assault and violence committed against us, so I've taken upon myself to be prepared and that's not just for being on these trails, but just life in general."
Her friend, Anna Crary, said she also takes precautions, like jogging with her dog or another person. But Crary said sometimes it feels like the responsibility lies more with women.
"To be quite honest, I do think it's more of a burden on women, you know, as far as having to be constantly vigilant and I don't think that's fair. I don't like that I have to be aware that, you know, if I go out on a trail I could be physically assaulted," she said. "That's never a good feeling."
The women agreed that everyone has a right to use public trails and feel safe.
Police describe the suspect as a white man, 20 to 30 years old with brown hair. He was walking a small dog before the attack on Tuesday evening. Wednesday evening he was dressed in running clothes and did not have a dog.
Police are asking anyone with information including surveillance video to call dispatch at 311.
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