Though he might deny it, Christian Garcia of the Florida Gators became a real-life hero July 21.
Christian Garcia, a fourth-year junior, who was a walk-on linebacker with the Florida Gators last year, was working late at 101 Cantina early Thursday morning, according to the Florida Gators website. It was then that he noticed a man sexually assaulting a woman near a dumpster behind the club.
"The girl was basically unconscious," Christian Garcia told First Coast News. "So I knew there was no way she could be giving consent."
Florida's Christian Garcia rescued a girl from sexual assault. https://t.co/0wcl1z0tx9 pic.twitter.com/bzx1bqK8EJWith all the discussions that have been occurring around issues of consent and the rape culture on college and university campuses in several North American towns, Christian Garcia's attitude about whether or not the female victim, in this case, was giving consent is a refreshing change of pace. According to ESPN, the alleged perpetrator of the sexual assault did not want to go away so easily.
— theScore (@theScore) July 22, 2016
"I turned around and pulled the guy by the shoulder and said, 'Get off,'" Christian Garcia said. "That pretty much ended the situation then. He was intoxicated and attempted to throw some punches, but he slipped and busted his face on the wall."
Christian Garcia was not the only witness to the alleged sexual assault, though; a co-worker at 101 Cantina also saw the incident. Garcia added it was his strong moral code that pushed him to intervene in the incident as quickly as he did, according to First Coast News.
"I hold strong moral values and I don't think anyone should be taken advantage of in that kind of way," Garcia said.
Upon further police investigation, it appears that the alleged perpetrator in the sexual assault may have been involved in other sexual assaults in the area. Christopher Shaw, 34, is believed to have been involved in other alleged rapes in the area.
ESPN reports that Shaw's friends were allegedly watching the assault take place but were doing nothing to prevent it. When the victim awoke at a hospital several hours later, she reportedly told police that she did not know Shaw and had not consented to having sex with him. According to the report, she had told him no and had attempted to push Shaw away, but "was physically helpless because she was going in and out of consciousness due to her level of intoxication.''
Florida Gators linebacker Christian Garcia is being credited for stopping a sexual assault in progress. https://t.co/1zRyxGYUyAChristian Garcia has definitely ignited interest in the Florida Gators, but not just for his assists on two tackles in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl last year. Several websites are hailing Garcia a hero, and while at 6'1" and 233 pounds, he may look like the stereotypical heroic figure, the simple act of putting himself in harm's way to help out a fellow human being who was obviously unable to defend herself definitely makes Christian Garcia a hero.
— Sasha B. Masoomi (@SeasonsOfSasha) July 23, 2016
According to a tweet from Mike Kaye, Jaguars beat writer for First Coast News, Christian Garcia's former teammate Jake McGee said that he was not entirely surprised by Garcia's intervention in the sexual assault. The tweet says, "Former UF teammate Jake McGee said he is a great guy who holds himself and those around him to the highest standard."
The walk-on linebacker for the Florida Gators will no doubt be continuing to aid police after intervening in a sexual assault. Christian Garcia's willingness to try and help a young woman who was obviously too intoxicated to properly give consent may just be the positive proof we need, especially after trying stories of young white male athletes such as convicted Stanford swimmer Brock Turner doing the wrong thing, that there are people willing to help those who are unable to help themselves.
[Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images]