NYPD captain under fire for saying ‘stranger rapes’ more troubling than others

An NYPD captain has been harshly criticised for comments suggesting rape by an acquaintance is less concerning that rape by a stranger.
An NYPD captain has been harshly criticised for comments suggesting rape by an acquaintance is less concerning that rape by a stranger. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD

A Brooklyn police captain has faced backlash and calls for his resignation following comments suggesting rapes by acquaintances are less concerning than sexual assaults committed by strangers.

Brooklyn’s 94th Precinct Capt. Peter Rose said sexual assaults by a date, co-worker or acquaintance are, “not total-abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets.”

READ MORE: Why don’t victims or bystanders report sexual assault?

Rose made the comments last Wednesday at a community council meeting, DNAinfo reports.

The Greenpoint area of New York City, which Rose represents, saw a 62 per cent jump in reports of sex assault in 2016 over 2015, from eight reported assaults to 13. Of those cases, three people have been arrested while 10 remain unsolved.

Rose agrees every rape should be investigated, he later told DNAinfo, but said police aren’t too worried about the increase because most of the reported sex assaults were perpetrated by acquaintances.

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Troubling numbers on sex assault conviction rates in the City of Vancouver
“It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of theme were actually coworkers. It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes,” Rose said.

“If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street, those are the troubling ones. That person has, like, no moral standards.”

Nearly one in five women in the U.S. reported experiencing rape at some point in their lives, a survey by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), states that roughly 70 per cent of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.

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“Any form of sexual violence is horrifying,” said Farrah Khan, ‎sexual violence education and support coordinator at Ryerson University.

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Rose’s comments unleashed vitriol on Twitter and resulted in an online petition to have him fired.

“Let’s be clear: the NYPD is saying being raped by an acquaintance isn’t that bad,” the petition states.

“If we speak up in large numbers while Captain Rose is under fire for his disgusting comments, we can send the message now —rape, acquaintance or not, and the public figures that brush it aside WON’T be tolerated.”

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NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen P. Davis has since issued a statement saying Rose “did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints.”

“Due to the anonymous and random nature of rapes committed by strangers, detectives often face greater challenges in these types of crimes. Regardless, all sexual offenses are taken seriously.”

READ MORE: ‘I believe you’ campaign teaches Canadians how to respond to sexual assault

The explanation of the captain’s statement misses the mark, said Amanda Dale, executive director of the Barbra Schlifer Clinic.

‘The comments of the officer reveal a hierarchy of what’s considered a real crime. And it’s a shame really that they rushed to defend as opposed to making this a moment to talk about, in a more frank way, how rape myths still pop up in our system,” said Dale.

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