Washington, DC is increasingly becoming unsafe for women, as there is a sharp increase in the number of rapes reported and most ‘Rape Victims’ are being harassed by the law enforcement officers, that allows the ‘rapist’ go scot-free or with meager punishment.
Perversion of US ‘Media’ in reporting rapes also has been a cause for increased ‘Rapes’. Most times the ‘Free Media Porn culture’ becomes the main cause of ‘Rapes’.
Victims of sexual assault in Washington, DC, are ill-treated and harrassed by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), says Human Rights Watch.
Sexual assault cases are too often not properly documented or investigated and victims may face callous, traumatizing treatment, despite official departmental policy to the contrary.
The 196-page report, “Capitol Offense: Police Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases in the District of Columbia,” concludes that in most sexual assault cases, the police did not file incident reports, which are required to proceed with an investigation, or misclassified serious sexual assaults as lesser or other crimes.
Human Rights Watch also found that the police presented cases to prosecutors for warrants that were never investigated allowing the ‘Rapists’ to escape most times.
“Sexual assault is the most underreported violent crime in the US, largely because many victims fear that their cases will not be taken seriously and that police will not believe them,” said Sara Darehshori, senior counsel in the US Program at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report.
“Unfortunately, for some victims in DC who bravely came forward and reported their assaults, those fears were realized.”
Over the course of the 22-month investigation, Human Rights Watch conducted 150 interviews with sexual assault survivors, community groups, victims’ advocates, hospital staff, and university counselors, among others.
In addition, Human Rights Watch collected documents from four government agencies and reviewed over 250 internal investigative files for sex abuse cases at the MPD headquarters.
Human Rights Watch also searched MPD’s internal database, the Washington Area Criminal Intelligence Information System (WACIIS), for missing police reports.
The review of investigative files was part of a settlement agreement resulting from a lawsuit Human Rights Watch brought after the MPD failed to produce documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Human Rights Watch reviewed dates of all sexual assault reports made at Washington Hospital Center, where sexual assault victims are sent for forensic examinations, and compared them to sexual assault cases opened by the police department between October 2008 and September 2011.
Some sexual assault survivors described to Human Rights Watch callous treatment by police officers, who, they said, openly questioned their credibility and minimized the severity of their experiences. Human Rights Watch also checked these case files.
“To hear him tell me he didn’t believe me was a slap in my face,” one rape survivor told Human Rights Watch. “It just took the air right out of me. And where do you go from there when the policeman tells you he doesn’t believe you?”
Media Portray Rape as a ‘Culture’ and imperative of ‘Manhood’
Rape culture is propagated by US Media both in subtle and open references of rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) as common and normal. It gives raise to prevalent attitudes, norms, practices as media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence, that is serialized to earn more audience and hence advertisers and hence big earnings.
he following are quotes from rape survivors, advocates, police officers, and medical personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch or contained in documents Human Rights Watch reviewed. Victims’ names have been abbreviated or replaced with pseudonyms to protect their privacy.
“By failing to classify the crime committed against me as an attempted rape or sexual assault, by ignoring my account of the story, you condemn me to a life where I mistrust the police, abandon any faith I possessed in the criminal justice system, and you have caused me more victimization than the actual perpetrator of the crime committed against me. Moreover, you fail the community you have sworn to protect….”
– Letter to MPD Chief Cathy Lanier from Eleanor G., survivor of a 2011 attempted sexual assault, October 4, 2011
“Reporting to the police was far more traumatizing than the rape itself.”
– Susan D., after reporting a sexual assault in March 2011
“[The detectives] told me that they did not want to waste their time with me… that no one was going to believe my report and that he didn’t even want to file it…. When I called to get the police report number [the detective] told me it was a ‘miscellaneous’ report…. This is not ‘miscellaneous’ THIS IS RAPE!”
– Maya T., complaint form, Office of Police Complaints, May 9, 2011
“They just didn’t listen to me, they made me feel completely ashamed of myself, they made me feel like I was lying or like I was too stupid to understand what happened to me, that I was trying to make something a big deal that wasn’t that big of a deal.”
– Eleanor G., describing her interaction with the MPD in 2011
“To hear him tell me he didn’t believe me was a slap in my face. It just knocked me down, it was a punch in my stomach. It just took the air right out of me. And where do you go from there when the policeman tells you he doesn’t believe you?”
– Shelly G., Washington DC, August 21, 2012, describing her interaction with an MPD detective in October 2009
“The detective was in the room with the interpreter, and two other female officers and after 40 min, the survivor was literally hysterical…. [T]he nurses and I could hear it from outside the room … she was sobbing and yelling…. We interrupted and the detective told us, ‘We’ll be done when I say we’re done.’ Two min later, they walked out of the room…. [T]he detective told me there would be no case and told me to go see her.”
– Email from a Rape Crisis Center advocate, forwarded to the Office of Victim Services at the Mayor’s Office, April 2009
“I think that filing the report was just as traumatic as the crime, if not more…. Is it common place for the police to put blame on the sexual assault victims and then completely ignore them?”
– Complaint form, Office of Police Complaints, November 12, 2009
“Investigators serve as prosecutor, judge, and jury and stop the process before it begins.”
– Experienced community service provider to sexual assault victims, Washington, DC, February 16, 2011
“For a sexual assault survivor who has already experienced an intense violation, to have your governmental system essentially say to you, ‘This didn’t happen, or if it did happen it doesn’t really count,’ is devastating.”
– Denise Snyder, DC Rape Crisis Center, Washington City Paper, April 9, 2010
“I found out you dealt with her about 4 am Friday or Saturday morning … and she chose not to make a report. Something about a gang bang and being intoxicated…. Anyway, I think it was just an OI [Office Information]. However, she now feels differently and wishes to make a report. She says her phone isn’t working but she can be reached…. Sorry, BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS!!!!!!!”
– Note from one detective to another, found in investigative file from 2009 reviewed by Human Rights Watch
“How can you not remember? How can we believe you?”
– Witness reporting a statement made by an MPD detective to a victim who reported being assaulted by a stranger after going to a bar, but could not remember the name of the bar
“You shouldn’t have been outside. This is what happens at two in the morning. What do you expect?”
– A member of the medical staff reporting a statement made by an MPD detective to an 18-year-old runaway who was assaulted at night
“Well, she could have fallen on rocks and may not have had panties on. Also what kind of girl is in a room with five guys?”
– Nurse describing the response of a detective to a patient who was found unconscious in a hotel room with five men, with severe tears to her vagina and rectum that required emergency surgery, in 2010
“You are only doing this to get immigration status, aren’t you?”
– Lawyer’s account of what an MPD detective told his client when she reported being kidnapped and sexually assaulted repeatedly overnight in early 2011