Archive for November 16th, 2010

Anarchism is a game at which the police can beat you. –  George Bernard Shaw

In every country in the world where prostitution is illegal, from Southeast Asia to Russia to Africa to the United States, prostitutes at every level of the profession (but most often streetwalkers) are raped by the police on a regular basis.  The report presented on November 5th to the UN Human Rights Council by the Best Practices Policy Project, Desiree Alliance, and the Sexual Rights Initiative contains a section entitled “Freedom from torture, and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” which reads in part:

U.S. sex workers’ greatest fear is abuse by the police and other state agents.  Organizations working with sex workers have documented a pattern of practice by police towards sex workers, which includes assault, sexual harassment and rape that constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment…When sex workers seek recourse for crimes committed against them, officers do not take their reports seriously or may further violate these sex workers by arresting them, physically assaulting them or pressuring them for sex.

This is not an exaggeration; if anything it is a polite understatement of the problem.  Of the whores I know who have been raped, a fair percentage of them were raped by police; the prevalence of it in San Francisco was one of the issues which spurred the founding of COYOTE.  Nor are these abuses limited to local law enforcement personnel; activist Jill Brenneman reported in September on her rape by a federal air marshal (WARNING: this is both graphic and disturbing).  Do I believe that a disproportionate percentage of rapists join the police?  Not at all; I believe that as Lord Acton observed, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Many cops are simply not afraid of the consequences of their actions, and so are more likely to act on an impulse to commit rape than men in the general population, particularly when the victim is a prostitute, because hookers are vastly less likely to report the crime and less likely to be believed even if they do report it.

But when the typical siege mentality (i.e. cops lying or committing crimes to protect other cops even if they know them to be guilty) is strong in a department, rapist cops may also choose non-professional women as victims.  As I’ve alluded to in the past, the first time I was raped was by three cops whom I let into my own home because I was still young (28) and naïve enough to trust them.  I was not a professional at the time, but as I mentioned in my column of July 30th my ex had accused me of it, which was apparently enough for these bullies.  Because they knew that an accusation with visible injury might possibly be believed, they refrained from beating or otherwise physically injuring me (except for abrasions from the handcuffs and some bruising on my arms, thighs and abdomen).  They told me that no one would believe my allegations of rape, so I might as well “relax and enjoy it like a good little whore.”  Well, I relaxed as much as I could with a gun pointed at my head, and they eventually got done and left and I showered until the hot water ran out, then hard-as-nails Maggie McNeill curled up on the sofa and cried until about three o’clock in the morning.

I was not and am not concerned with whether I acted “correctly” in failing to report them; from my viewpoint the rape could last an hour and be over except for nightmares and flashbacks, or I could let lawyers and judges and cops subject me to a waking nightmare, a slow-motion rape that might go on for months or years.  No thank you.  Those of you who are concerned about the possibility they might victimize other women will be glad to hear that one of them was accused of rape by someone else two years later and another was arrested on a charge of domestic violence in 2000.  I never saw or heard the third one’s name so I don’t know if karma has dealt with him yet, but I have faith that it will.  Here is a recent example of the sort of thing I avoided by not reporting them; it was paraphrased from a report on scnow.com:

A young woman was raped by a Marion, South Carolina police officer, then threatened with prison by two other cops (one of them female) unless she “confessed” that her report was false.  She was in a traffic accident on the morning of September 25th, then in the afternoon officer Tyrone Reed showed up at her door, ostensibly to talk about the accident; when she let him in he raped her.

After she told her boyfriend about the attack, he reported it to the police and lieutenants Farmer Blue and Betty Gause came to her house to “investigate” the complaint.  “I showed him the trash where I know the officer that assaulted me was standing and I said, ‘Here’s the tissue,’ and Blue got the tissue out of the trash can and he took that evidence with him,” she said. “I never saw [an evidence bag].  I asked him what he was going to do with it and he said, ‘He got this.’”  The lieutenants then got another call and had to leave the scene, but before leaving, they told her to go to an area hospital.  Once there, she waited for several hours to be examined; someone from the rape crisis center should have been notified immediately by the hospital staff, but mysteriously that didn’t happen.  “Every victim is entitled to a specialized sexual assault victims’ advocate” said Lisa Hyatt, the victim services coordinator for the local Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault.

After the victim returned to her apartment, Gause and Blue followed in order to inflict a second, emotional rape on the distraught young woman.  “He read me my [Miranda] rights.  And I thought I was going to jail, there was no doubt in my mind,” she said.  “They told me to listen up.” She said the officers told her State Law Enforcement Division agents would question her:  “‘When SLED comes in and they find anything wrong with your story, they are taking you to prison.  You’re going to prison for five years,’” the victim said Blue and Gause told her.  “They said, ‘Your story is all over the place.  We talked to our officer and his story sounds consistent.  You don’t look like a rape victim.’”  Gause then told her that a rape victim is ‘balled up in a corner, shivering’ when police respond to the reported assault.  She responded, “I don’t know what a rape victim looks like.  I never thought this would happen to me.”

The officers then questioned her about changing her clothes and shoes after the incident; “They said, ‘We don’t know anybody that go out and come in and change clothes and don’t wash, that’s nasty.”  She said the officers went on to tell her five years was a long time for her to be in prison and away from her 4-year-old daughter.  “And I said, ‘If you don’t want to call it rape and I didn’t agree to it and I didn’t consent to it, what is it?’  They couldn’t give me no answer,” she said.  The officers then told her just as long as she wrote in her statement that she wasn’t raped, SLED agents would not arrest her; they forced her to write, “Though I didn’t agree or consent to it (it) was not rape,” and to sign it.  Apparently satisfied by their disgusting manipulation of a rape victim to save their buddy from the consequences of his actions, the two then returned to the office and wrote a report claiming that the victim had “recanted her story”.

Fortunately, she refused to take this lying down and went to the media with it; this resulted in Reed being suspended from the force without pay until “an investigation can be completed,” but he has not been arrested or charged with rape as any non-cop would have been.  The investigation was turned over to the SLED, but no action of any kind has been taken against Blue or Gause despite their heavy-handed attempt at intimidation and obstruction of justice.  State police officials said proper department protocol was not followed, because SLED should have been called immediately to investigate; Marion police shouldn’t have handled the matter because the incident involved an officer in that department.  Hyatt said she’ never before heard of an alleged sexual assault victim being read a Miranda warning; her Coalition has been working closely with the victim since the incident.  “She shows classic post-trauma symptoms and she continues to display those symptoms,” Hyatt said.

“I just want to start by saying that I didn’t recant my story or change anything I said happened.  I was coerced by officer Blue and…Gause to…put what I said at the end of my report,” the victim said.  “[They] are saying, ‘He was wrong for coming, but I was wrong for letting him in.’  He had on a uniform and I wasn’t thinking nothing of it,” she said.  “When you see an officer, you’re either scared of them or you’re going to respect them and let them in…because I didn’t scream loud enough or fight hard enough, I wasn’t a victim.  I never thought this would happen in my own domain.”  Since the incident, the victim said, she has been afraid to drive because she’s scared she’ll be stopped by an officer.  “I don’t sleep too well because I’m always thinking about what happened.  They make it seem like it was my fault,” she said.

Note the insultingly patronizing attitude of the cops; a rape victim is told how she “should” react, just as cops, neofeminists and politicians tell whores how we “should” feel about prostitution.  Every woman reacts differently to rape; while this young woman is now afraid to drive, I was afraid of walkie-talkies.  My rapists’ police radios kept beeping and squawking during the whole ordeal, and for years afterward I had to fight down panic whenever I heard such a sound in public.  Even now I tend to jump when I hear it; fortunately the explosion of cell phones have made such radios less common among maintenance men and other non-cops who used to use them.  And though I’m not afraid of cops any more, I think I can be forgiven for disliking them intensely.

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