NOW-NYC: Take Every Rape Seriously

Press Releases / January 30, 2017

Hosts Protest Outside 94th Precinct, Issues List of Demands for NYPD

January 10, 2017 – New York – The National Organization for Women-NYC (NOW-NYC) denounced NYPD Captain Peter Rose’s recent comments, where he trivialized rape cases in which the perpetrator’s identity is known to the victim. In response, NOW-NYC organized a protest outside of the 94th Precinct and issued a set of demands to the NYPD to treat all rapes as a gravely serious matter.

Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW New York said, “Captain Rose’s comments are offensive and outrageous, but they are symptoms of a larger systemic problem within the criminal justice system. To suggest that any rape ‘is less serious’ re-victimizes survivors of rape, creates a climate where women are more reluctant to report rape, and stands between countless sexual assault victims and justice.”

In support of victims across the City of New York, NOW-NYC demands:

  • The reopening of all 10 “unsolved” rape and sexual assault cases from the 94th precinct. These cases must be vigorously pursued by someone whose mandate is to secure justice on behalf of the victims. Additionally, a thorough evaluation must be undertaken to identify where the investigation went wrong. Arrest numbers and incident reports from other commands must be released and reviewed to identify whether this egregious 0-for-10 statistic in the 94th precinct is an anomaly or the norm.
  • A department-wide plan to evaluate current procedures and impose oversight and accountability best practices in every command to ensure acquaintance rapes are taken seriously.
  • A department-wide commitment to two core principles:
    • Acquaintance rapes are real rapes: in fact, these constitute a majority of rapes committed.
    • Lead with belief in all victims: investigators must understand rape is frequently under-reported and most rape complaints are true. Complaining witnesses should get respectful treatment and prompt, thorough investigations.

Although Captain Rose has since issued an apology on Twitter, his comments rang alarm bells for how victims of rape are treated by the NYPD. NOW-NYC is aware of several instances in which NYPD officers did not respond adequately or sensitively to the immediate and pressing needs of a rape victim.

Jane Manning, Director of Advocacy for NOW-NYC’s partner organization, Women’s Justice NOW said, “An apology was warranted, but an apology doesn’t fix the problem. The police want victims to come forward and report rape, but how are victims going to feel confident a reported rape will be taken seriously when the commanding officer of a police department says some rapes are less serious? 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.”

NOW-NYC advocates for the women and girls of New York, by working to defend reproductive rights, fight economic inequality, and end discrimination and violence against women. As the largest NOW chapter in the country, they play a key role in shaping both the local and national debate on the issues that impact women.

Women’s Justice NOW is NOW’s charitable partner organization, supporting their public education and outreach efforts and providing legal help and referrals to women in need.