Just in case we have any readers in New York who are in the mood to feel disgusted and horrified, two NYPD officers were acquitted of rape a couple days ago. You can read the NY Times' coverage here, or some slightly more feminist-y criticism here.
This is the basic background. Important things to note about this case: there were 35 witnesses. The officers returned to the survivor's home three times throughout the night in question. They made fake 911 calls to justify to the neighbors why they were present. The prosecution has a recording of the officer's conversation with the survivor, in which he admitted they had sex. The medical examiner testified that she had a bruised cervix, consistent with forcible penetration from behind (which is what she testified happened that night). The officer accused of the act has serious credibility problems, too, and may have lied under oath.
Despite the heinousness of this verdict (and what the hell was the jury doing with all of this?), there is at least one...clear message this sends to survivors, at least in New York: no one will believe you. No one will believe you if you have medical evidence. No one will believe you if you have audio recordings. No one will believe you if you have 35 witnesses. No one will believe you if your accusers are liars, strangely enough.
When we talk about rape being under-reported, and ask why that is, this case gives pretty clear evidence of why. Aside from the trauma that going through a trial might cause, there's not a whole lot of chance that a survivor will get a verdict in their favor.
For New Yorkers who want to show their anger about this verdict, there's a protest scheduled today from 5-7pm at the Manhattan Criminal Court Building. More details:
When: Friday May 27, 5-7pm
Where: In front of the Manhattan Criminal Court building at 100 Centre Street.
How: Public Transportation Directions:
…Take the No. 4 or 5 train to the Brooklyn Bridge Station; the C, N, R, 6 train to Canal Street; the 1 train to Franklin Street.
Take the 1, 6 or 15 bus line.
Why: On Thursday May 26, New York police officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were found not guilty of charges that Moreno raped a woman in her apartment while Mata kept guard, despite the fact that the amount of evidence against the officers in this case was overwhelming. Instead, the jury convicted both officers of official misconduct for entering the woman's apartment, but found them not guilty of all other charges, including burglary and falsifying business records. This despite the fact that one of the officers had been recorded on tape admitting to using a condom when having sex with the woman who made the accusation. The cornerstone of the defense required that the woman was too drunk to have a credible account of the incident, but sober enough to consent to sex.
Join us in protest. Because raping a drunk women while on patrol is more than "official misconduct". Because calling 911 should not be an invitation to be raped. Because NO behavior, including being drunk, is an invitation to be raped. Because rapists do not deserve the protection of our tax-funded police department and city officials. Because we recognize this incident as part of the NYPD's long, horrific history of violence - sexual and otherwise - often and disproportionately against people of color. Because the people of NYC will not accept victim-blaming, cronyism, and a culture of silence that allows rapists to roam free, without consequence.