A New York City police captain has blamed the lack of arrests in sexual assault reports on the fact that most of the reported cases were “acquaintance rape.”
Sexual attacks in the Greenpoint neighborhood of New York City’s Brooklyn borough went up by 62 percent over the last year, and according to DNAinfo, police statistics show that the majority of the attacks have not resulted in arrests.
Of the 13 cases of rape and attempted rape in Greenpoint reported to the NYPD in 2016, DNAinfo reports that three people have been arrested, including a handyman charged with attacking a woman in her home and and a man accused of breaking into a sleeping woman’s apartment and raping her.
Ten of those cases, including two attempted rapes by taxi drivers on young female passengers, remain unsolved.
Police officials told DNAinfo that the lack of arrests is because most were “acquaintance rape” cases and many of the women who reported them later stopped cooperating with investigators.
“Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more,” Capt. Peter Rose, head of the 94th Precinct in Greenpoint, told DNAinfo New York.
“It really becomes a balancing act for investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of them were actually co-workers,” Rose said. “It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes.
“If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards,” Rose added.
Rose went into more detail about the incidents at a meeting of the precinct’s community council Wednesday.
“They’re not total abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets,” Rose said Wednesday night.
According to DNAinfo, Rose’s comments raised concerns with Jane Manning of the National Organization for Women.
“The idea that ‘this isn’t some guy who’s dangerous to women,’ that in itself is a major window into the mentality that we are up against,” Manning said. “If you have the commander of a precinct making comments like that, he’s setting a tone for all the officers of a unit about how seriously to take acquaintance rape cases.
“When I hear the phrase ‘We didn’t have a cooperating victim,’ my antenna always goes up,” Manning added. “If you hear, ‘I can’t get the victim to cooperate’ in case after case, you should be asking yourself, what are they failing to do?”
According to a 2012 report from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (pdf), only about 14 percent of rape cases reported nationally are stranger rapes.
According to DNAinfo New York, Rose said that the cases that have fallen apart have primarily been those involving acquaintance rape.
“Those are the people who aren’t cooperating,” Rose said. “One person went back to Florida. Another person went back to California.”
Rose said that in other cases, victims made reports at the hospital and then decided not to go through with prosecution.
“If there’s no complainant, they can’t make an arrest,” Rose said.
Perhaps it is the pervasiveness of the rape culture that we live in that deters victims from coming forward. If the commander of a police precinct can disregard acquaintance rape (the very thing that Bill Cosby has been accused of multiple times), what does that say for the general attitude toward acquaintance rape and the women who report it?
The attitude that stranger rape is somehow more of a rape than acquaintance rape is dead wrong. Rape is rape, no matter who commits it. It is an act of violence, and it deserves to be reported and punished. The victim should not be made to feel less than simply because she knew her attacker.
The police captain’s comments have now gone viral. Hopefully the NYPD will censure him and look into some type of sensitivity training for their officers that help them understand what has already been said.
Rape is rape.
Read more at DNAinfo.