ICYMI: Echo of an awful time

How-to-avoid-rape-copyMy latest op-ed, title above, appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. It was in response to this article, which appeared on the front page last Sunday. You’d think we still lived in the days that the cartoon here shows.

There was so much in the article that simply disgusted me, like this:

As police gathered evidence, a female investigator pulled her aside. She whispered something unsettling: “If we find out that you’re lying, this will be a felony charge.”

There is something really, really wrong when a female officer’s first comment to a rape victim is to imply that she is lying. I want to meet that officer. As for them men:

A detective drove her to the Norfolk Police Operations Center on Virginia Beach Boulevard and took a brief statement. She thought she would then see her parents or undergo an examination – sometimes called a “rape kit” – to gather physical evidence. But she was told she would need to be interviewed by other detectives.

She waited more than 45 minutes in an interview room. She dozed off, her head and arms on the table in front of her. She was awakened by two detectives, she said, including one who was especially abrasive as he sought answers and told her she was hiding something.

That just made my blood boil.

I simply cannot believe such behavior in this day and age. And I want some answers.

I want to know who these people are. I want to know what punishment they received. And if they are still on the force, I want to be able to identify them so that if I run into them, I’ll know my protection is in my own hands, and not to rely on them.

They should not be allowed to maintain their privacy, not for such egregious behavior. And their fellow officers should not have to withstand the suspicions of the public because of the bad apples.

I know enough Norfolk police officers to know that all of them are not like this. But not knowing which ones perpetrated this places them all under a cloud. The only way to fix that is to have the NPD come clean.

We deserve nothing less.

My column appears in The Virginian-Pilot every week, usually on Thursdays. You can see the columns as they are published here, or navigate to them from the PilotOnline.com homepage by clicking on Opinion and then choosing my name at the bottom of the dropdown list. You can also see the columns by liking my Facebook page. Although my column appears weekly, I am not and have never been an employee of The Virginian-Pilot.


5 thoughts on “ICYMI: Echo of an awful time

  1. There does seem to be a great degree of insensitivity in this case. However, I would like to know what the officers encountered or knew to cause them to act in this way before I condemn them.

    1. “And their fellow officers should not have to withstand the suspicions of the public because of the bad apples.”

      Ron may have put his finger on it. If these officers have encountered repeated false-accusations, then this poor woman now has to withstand the suspicions of the police because of a few bad apples.

    2. If you read the original article, you will note that the Internal Affairs officer was shocked by the video interrogation of the rape survivor. I don’t have to condemn them – the police did that themselves.

      1. Having been through a lot of incidents with Norfolk’s IA office, I can say pretty confidently that the only officer capable of saying:

        “I wanted to jump through the screen to choke them”

        is one ironically named Sgt. Lovelace. I’m sure this comment will pop up on their PIO’s Google Alert before long…

  2. The victim deserved to be heard, period. The job of our law-enforcement officers was to listen.
    I’m not advocating “condemning” individuals. I am advocating an inquiry regarding the treatment of victims.
    And why, pray tell, did the observers stay silent?

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