The police & rape
Published Jun 1, 2011 5:13 PM
Consider these horrific facts provided by the National Organization for Women:
Every year approximately 132,000 women report they have been violently violated
by rape or attempted rape. More than half of that number knew their attackers.
It’s estimated that two to six times that many women are raped, but do
not report it. Every year 1.2 million women are raped by their current or
former male partners, some more than once.
The United States has the highest rape rate among countries that report such
statistics. It is four times higher than that of Germany, 13 times higher than
that of Great Britain, and 20 times higher than that of Japan.
Does the sexual assault of women by male police officers factor anywhere into
these statistics? Putting aside individual cases here and there, the answer is
“no.” So it is within this general context that the egregious May
26 acquittal of two New York Police Department officers on rape charges should
Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were called to help an intoxicated
woman out of a taxi and escort her safely to her apartment. They were
videotaped entering the East Village apartment of the woman, not once, not
twice, but three times on Dec. 7, 2008. Moreno was charged with actually
sexually assaulting the woman as Mata stood guard while this violence took
Both officers were found guilty of three counts of “official
misconduct” — all misdemeanors — followed by termination of
their jobs. In other words, they only got a slap on the wrist. The officers
face up to one year on each charge of misconduct and will be sentenced in State
Supreme Court in Manhattan on June 28.
People throughout the city became outraged with the verdict. A protest
organized by women’s groups was held on May 27 in front of the courthouse
where the trial took place.
Cops are no heroes
This latest incident holds important lessons. From the earliest days of
childhood, it is drummed into our heads that the “policeman” is our
“friend” and “protector.” This indoctrination continues
throughout adulthood with an endless, nauseating parade of TV dramas and
Hollywood movies, all glorifying the dangerous “job” of being a
police officer. But this is not the reality.
Under capitalist society, the police are a deadly force of men and women
trained to keep “order” for the small class of multimillionaires
and billionaires whose corporations and banks control all the wealth created by
the global working class. This “order” has created entrenched
poverty, massive unemployment, slave wages, racial profiling, the incarceration
of millions, and unprecedented objectification of women.
Bourgeois laws that are enforced with such harshness, degradation and
insensitivity by the courts exist not only to protect the interest of the haves
versus the have-nots, but also to protect the repressive force — the
police. In fact, the police are above any laws that are meant to keep the
masses in check. When has anyone ever heard of a police officer receiving a
death sentence for killing an unarmed African American, Latino/a or
working-class youth? Yet these senseless killings are almost an everyday
occurrence, especially in large urban areas where there are no jobs and dire
If a woman dares to try to bring an accused rapist to justice, in many
instances her character is actually put on trial by defense attorneys and their
witnesses, who try to blame her for the violence brought upon her. Women in
numerous rape cases are accused of “asking for it” based on how
they are dressed or for being intoxicated.
Women should have the right to feel safe and be safe. Period. The police are
not the answer. It will take a socialist revolution to usher in a humane,
cooperative society to guarantee full equality for all women and ensure
women’s rights and safety.
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