Women’s activists gathered outside an NYPD precinct in Brooklyn Tuesday to protest remarks made by its commanding officer about the seriousness of acquaintance rape last week.
Unsatisfied withCapt. Peter Rose’sapology posted to Twitter Monday, dozens of activists from the New York City chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW) demonstrated outside the precinct and demanded further measures be taken to ensure every rape be taken seriously.
New Yorkers, city officials and social mediausers were appalled at the remarks seeming to trivialize acquaintance rape that Rose made while explaining the 62 percent increase in rapes in his 94th precinct in 2016. There were 13 reported rapes, and only three arrests.
“It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of the 13, only two were stranger rapes,” he had told DNAinfo.com.
Elaborating on his statement at a community meeting, Rose said that the other 11 rapes involved coworkers and people who met on dating apps. “They’re not total abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets.”
“If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones,” Rose told a reporter.”That person has, like, no moral standards.”
Rose’s official apology posted to Twitter on Monday began with “my sincerest apologies for the comments I’ve made,” and was accompanied by an attachment that continued: “I deeply regret the statements I made last week about rape. I failed to communicate accurately how I respond to reports of rape, and the actions the department as a whole takes. My comments were not meant to minimize the seriousness of sexual assault.”
My sincerest apologies for the comments I’ve made. pic.twitter.com/TL4yC8JChq
— NYPD 94th Precinct (@NYPD94Pct) January 9, 2017
Jane Manning, director of advocacy for the NOW partner organization Women’s Justice NOW that joined the protest, said: “An apology was warranted, but an apology doesn’t fix the problem… New York City women deserve accountability and a close examination of the NYPD to determine whether the 94th precinct is an anomaly or part of a larger, more systemic problem.”
A number of state and U.S. politicians had called for Rose to make the apology, and NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill published a response to the Rose’s “insensitive” comments in the New York Daily News Monday, defending the NYPD’s approach to handling rape cases, and pointing out how extremely underreported rape is locally and nationally. He cited figures from the U.S. Justice Department’s survey that only 32 percent of rapes are reported.
The office of Mayor Bill de Blasio had also reacted forcefully.
“The comments by the Captain do not represent the views of the Mayor, our administration, or of an NYPD that is deeply committed to fighting for survivors of sexual assault,” de Blasio press secretary Eric Phillips told DNAinfo.
The demonstrators’ demands included: The reopening of the “unsolved” rape and assault cases at the precinct, and have other commands release their own incident statistics; a department-wide evaluation of procedures and new oversight to ensure acquaintance rapes are taken seriously; and a department-wide commitment to the principles that acquaintance rapes are real rapes and to lead with belief in all victims, as most rape complaints are true, and are often underreported.