CHICO, Calif. - A column written by the editor of the Chico Enterprise-Record has gained traction online. It was in response to a Chico State student who wrote a letter, expressing her frustration about being accosted by a homeless man.
"I mean, I wanna feel safe when I'm just running two blocks away from my household, just a household necessity," said 23-year-old Bayleigh Salazar.
A few weeks ago, Salazar biked to the Safeway on Mangrove just two blocks away from where she lived to grab dish soap.
"A homeless man approached me as I was unlocking my bike and he asked if I wanted to cuddle with him," Salazar said.
Salazar said she was shocked and surprised by the encounter.
"I was wearing this exact shirt and in the nicest way possible I told him to go screw himself and he said 'you're not homeless?'" Salazar said. "I said no and I immediately left."
She wrote a letter to the Chico Enterprise-Record asking, "How am I supposed to feel safe in what is supposed to be my home city in my collegiate years when I cannot even buy dish soap without being propositioned?"
"Her letter came in early last week and I get dozens of letters each week," said David Little, editor-in-chief of the Chico Enterprise-Record. "A lot of them don't sit with me and I don't remember what they're about."
But Salazar's letter had struck a particular chord Little.
"Just felt the need to tell her that sorry on behalf of the people of chico that this really was unacceptable behavior," he said.
Little responded to the letter saying, "My fear is that people are accepting this as normal, just the way things are."
"Criminal or anti-social behavior is something that we as citizens of Chico should not accept," Little said. "Obviously, homelessness is a whole other issue."
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