When people ask me if I would report if I were raped again, my answer is that if I were raped in my current home of Rochester, MN that yes I would report in the company of a victim's advocate because of what I know about those who would be entrusted to respond to my report.
In Wednesday's Rochester Post-Bulletin, Eli Umpierre, a sergeant in the Rochester Police Department wrote an editorial which highlights why I would report here.
Here is the opening:
If I have a specialty within policing it is my knowledge of issues and truths related to sexual assault. With more than 18 years of policing experience, I have come to believe that the prevalence of women and girls being sexually assaulted is much higher than what most people know.This first point of 10 is one where too many investigators and too many citizens flunk. The belief that some victims deserve rape (or cause it) is often expressed indirectly, but softening the words does nothing to soften the reality that too many people are quick to find excuses for all but the most horrific sex criminals. Excuses and shifting blame to victims are key contributors to sex crimes since they provide practical help to perpetrators.
National statistics are trending toward the belief that one-in-three women, rather than the previously held belief of one-in-four women, have been sexually assaulted at some point during their lifetimes. Of course, men and boys can and have been sexually assaulted as well, but by all known accounts the percentage of such an occurrence is much lower than that of females who have been victimized.
I'm sure much of what I say here has been heard by many before, but just maybe somebody will read something that will touch a place that they thought nobody would ever recognize as a whisper of their own experience. Even if not recognized by your own experience, perhaps having this information will allow you be more empathetic to those who have been sexually assaulted.
1) If you were sexually assaulted it was NOT your fault. I don't care if you were dancing naked with heroin needles sticking out of your arms in a room full of men. In the United States of America, bad decisions are not justifiably punishable by sexual assault.
Another contributor to the prevalence of sex crimes are mistaken beliefs about what doesn't count. Umpierre highlights one such example.
6) You can start making out with somebody and then decide you do not want to go further. When you either said "no" or indicated "no" with your body and the person continued the sexual actions on you, the definition of the continued actions is sexual assault.
I encourage everyone to read the entire commentary and to expect this level of understanding in action from the sex crime investigators in your jurisdiction. Victim blaming investigators are incompetent investigators and they must either improve or be replaced.