College Student Killed over Catcalls

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Article by: Aislinn Olvera


It’s easy to tell someone to ignore catcalls when they hear them; soon enough they’ll get the hint and move along, right? If something were to happen to you because of a catcaller, it’s always the victims fault, right? “You shouldn’t have been wearing something so revealing,” or “well you can just ignore them,” or even “it’s just because you’re so pretty.” All of these are told to most women at some point in their life, either before or after they become a victim to catcalling. However, none of these are excuses, nor do they work 100% of the time (probably not even 50% of the time).

19-year-old college student Ruth George was on her way home after attending an event for her professional fraternity. She had just Ubered back to the garage where her car was parked, on the city’s Near West Side. She was an honors student from Naperville, Illinois planning to become a physical therapist.

26-year-old Donald Thurman must have thought she was easy on the eyes because as Ruth was on her way to her car, he began to catcall her. Whenever that happens to a girl of any age, many do what they were told to do from such a young age: ignore the man and get to your destination. So, that is exactly what Ruth George did. Thurman did not like that response in the slightest.

The next thing that happened was every woman’s worst nightmare come true: the man followed Ruth George as she entered the parking garage on Friday, November 22. He followed her from behind and put her in a chokehold.

“The defendant was angry he was being ignored,” prosecutors said in a statement.

Ms. George’s family grew worried whenever she didn’t return home on Friday night. By Saturday, the Chicago police tracked pings of her cellphone to the parking garage, where her body was found face down in the back seat of the car.

Donald Thurman was identified by the police from a surveillance video at the scene, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and was arrested when spotted near the crime scene on Sunday, the 24th. He was charged with first-degree murder and criminal sexual assault.

A junior, Maryam Tharian, 20, said “We’ve all had experiences being catcalled. We’d do the same thing Ruth did. Ignore them and keep walking. It’s just terrifying.’

It’s easy to tell young women to just ignore the calls when they are heard; but, what happens when these women are put in the same situation as Ruth George? As a society, it’s easy to place blame on the victim, telling them it was a compliment, they should acknowledge it kindly, or maybe they shouldn’t wear as revealing clothing. What this society doesn’t know, except for women, is that the fight will continue to be fought. Women, and men, who experience this, should never be subjected to such a horrifying fate, and the endless nightmares that come with it.