This story was originally published in the July 9, 1985, issue of the Boston Phoenix.

One evening in February, Sara left her State Street office building shortly after six o'clock to walk to her car. As she put the key in the lock of the car door, a man grabbed her from behind and hissed in her ear, "Get in the car." Turning to face her assailant, she cried, "No!" He struck her once, knocking off her glasses. She screamed. He hit her again. She continued screaming. He ran off in one direction, she in the other. When the police arrived, they asked repeatedly whether or not the bad guy was black. When she insisted three times that he was not, the police lost interest. They did, however, agree to drive her to Mass General, where she received 10 stitches in her face and she discovered, for the first time, that three of her teeth had been knocked out. She never heard from the police again and was never asked to look at mug shots. No suspect was arrested. Two days later, when she returned to work, her boss first asked her whether she thought the assailant had been trying to rape her and then volunteered that, "this kind of thing didn't happen when women stayed at home."

Angie is a professor at the University of Chicago. Concerned about that city's high crime rate, she took a leave of absence to teach in Boston, which she figured, was surely safer than the South Side of Chicago. During her year here, this woman who had never been the victim of any crime in Chicago had her wallet stolen twice and her office ransacked once. As she left work one spring evening, two teenagers grabbed her, hit her over the head, and threw her into the back seat of their car. One fellow ripped off her jewelry while the other chanted, "Kill her, kill her." She can't remember how many stitches were required to close the gash in her head. Shortly after the attack a distressing series of incidents began: her phone would ring exactly 15 minutes after she turned off the lights in her apartment. When she picked up the phone, no one would speak. For the rest of the night, the phone would ring every hour.

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