I swear, I really don’t want to hate cops.

by Cara on December 12, 2007

in law enforcement, misogyny, patriarchy, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women and girls

In fact, I’d love to live in a world where I felt like I could trust police officers. But this doesn’t seem to be that world.

Seven state troopers in New Jersey have been suspended with pay after they were accused of sexually assaulting a university student.

A 25-year-old student of Rider University has said that she was raped by “multiple male individuals, including one or more members of the New State Police” at a home in Ewing Township on December 7. The woman, who remains unidentified, said she met the off-duty troopers at the Kat Man Du nightclub in Trenton Thursday night, a few hours before the rape took place.

The home where the alleged assault occurred is owned by an 8-year veteran state trooper, according to CBS News.

I’m incredibly outraged about the rape, but also extremely sad that a story about police officers raping women doesn’t surprise me.

It has reminded me of a story about a friend. Unlike myself, she does openly and unashamedly dislike and refuse to trust cops. Once, when she was around 17 or 18, she was driving on the thruway in a snow storm when her car broke down. She called for help, but before it came a police officer pulled over to see if she needed assistance. Since she had no heat in her car and it was fucking freezing, the young officer, who was apparently by himself, told her that she could come sit in the police car while she waited for the tow truck. She refused. I remember her telling me “he looked really nice, but we were on a deserted road in the middle of a snow storm. He could have raped and killed me and no one would ever know.”

This was several years ago, and at the time I understood her point but still thought that she was over-reacting a bit. I was reflecting on the story recently, though, and the first thought that came to my mind was “good for her.” Once I realized it, it made me incredibly sad and angry. Because it was good for her. She asserted herself in a situation where most wouldn’t. She did what she felt was right to keep herself safe without caring about all of those things that us women are taught to care about more than our own safety, like hurting people’s feelings and being perceived as, well, over-reacting. But isn’t it a sad and fucked up world where refusing help from a police officer because you’re afraid of him raping you is seen as the right course of action?

What caused my opinion to change from four or five years ago? Well, there’s feminism and now being aware of all the stuff I said above — that women are trained to be nice and do what is expected of them even when they sense danger, and this was probably where my original reaction was coming from. There’s also the fact that I’ve since read a million fucking stories like this about police officers raping and otherwise abusing women (particularly women of color), and more often than not, getting away with it.

Anyway, if that’s not enough fucked up rape stories for one day, this blurb just might do it for you. That’s just what it is, a blurb, found in the Times. I couldn’t even bring myself to do the searches required to find out more details.

Two boys ages 11 and 14 have been charged with trying to rape a 60-year-old woman in her Austin home. The boys wore bandanas when they broke through a window in July, and one tried to sexually assault the woman but stopped when her heart device was set off, the police said. They were charged with burglary with intent to commit sexual assault. Detective Scott Stanfield said the attack was deemed premeditated because the boys had a “rape kit” that included items to restrain the victim.

This is the point at which I’m supposed to say something smart and/or witty about rape culture. Instead, I think that I’m going to go eat some ice cream, have a drink and stare at the TV for a while tonight until the depression subsides.

Bookmark and Share

{ 6 comments }

1 Michelle F December 12, 2007 at 11:36 pm

I think it is horrible of course what happened to this girl, and that it is horrible that in our society women can’t often trust to be alone with strange men. It sucks even more that people like police officers, who are supposed to protect us from stuff like this, can do stuff like this. But given how many cases of rape there are out there, you could probably find one covering every profession (i.e. doctors who commit rape, teachers, family members, camp counselors) I mention those professions because they are also supposed to be trusted males, but that unfortunately isn’t always the case. There are good cops and bad cops and I think too often the actions of a few (like in this case or cases of police brutality) too often get projected on the whole.

2 Michelle R. December 13, 2007 at 3:53 am

Growing up my family indoctrinated me to trust the police – even with what i know now it’s hard to shake that off.

3 BettyBoondoggle December 13, 2007 at 9:46 am

In case your rage isn’t overloading today, read the update on the story of the Brazilian girl put in jail with 34 men.

4 Rachel December 13, 2007 at 10:53 am

Holy motherfucking Christ. I have not felt so ill, so ready to vomit, since I was pregnant and had morning sickness.

My father, as I indicated in a previous comment, was a state trooper for 25 years. A New Jersey State Trooper. I grew up around his friends, thinking these guys were, generally speaking, “good” guys. Despite what I learned about him after he retired, I still held the belief that police officers, generally speaking, are ok.

My girlfriend, on the other hand, grew up knowing her gay history better than any other young lesbian I have ever met. She has had an inherent distrust of police officers since she was very young, because of what she learned about what they used to do to the butch women they arrested.

This morning, after reading this, I called her and read her the first paragraph of your posting. She said, “Well, thank you NJ State Police for validating my distrust based on what you’ve done to my people. Bastards.”

I’ve finally come around to her way of thinking.

I’m sitting, by the way, about 10 minutes away from Rider University and Ewing Township right now.

5 kissmypineapple December 14, 2007 at 4:15 am

I have never ever ever trusted cops. Not ever. I don’t know where that comes from originally, but every damn day, it’s becomes more and more ingrained in me, b/c of things like this.

6 RachelPhilPa December 14, 2007 at 7:25 pm

There are good cops and bad cops and I think too often the actions of a few (like in this case or cases of police brutality) too often get projected on the whole.

I’ve yet to meet a good cop. Every single one is in it to dominate and control other people. They are a primary tool of oppression of less-privileged groups, and they know it and relish in it.

I live in Center City Philadelphia. Here, in the 6th district, every single white male officer (who still are the vast majority of Phila police officers in a city where probably only 20% of the population is white and male) has it in for trans women of color. They take every opportunity they can to harass, arrest under false pretense, beat, and likely rape these women. I witnessed a cop verbally harassing a trans woman b/c she dared to stand on the street to wait for a bus. She had her work ID around her neck, but to him, she’s a “prostitute”.

And for me, a (white) trans woman, the police are a huge reason I don’t travel any more. Some random person may insult me in the bathroom (“man in the women’s bathroom” crap), but should that person complain to police (especially state police in the highway rest stops), I face a very high likelyhood of arrest, beatings and rape.

So, I don’t buy the “few bad apples” hypothesis. I’m still looking for a few “good apple” police officers. So, yeah, I have absolutely no trust of or faith in any police officer, especially white males.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: