Police treatment of rape survivors is so appalling that many regretted going to the cops—and for most of them it intensifies the harm.
To anyone who questions, “Why don’t women go to the police if they are raped”—here are the answers.
Researchers at City, University of London, carried out the largest ever survey of rape and sexual assault survivors in England and Wales. Three quarters of respondents said their “mental health has worsened as a direct result of what the police did, or failed to do, in their case”.
Well over half of the survey’s respondents said they are unlikely to report a rape to the police again. Some of the survivors disclosed that they had been raped again, but have not reported this to the police.
These respondents said that they have stopped reporting to the police because they fear the cops more than they fear the perpetrator. That’s even when the sexual abuse is still ongoing.
The survey adds that many survivors “felt deep regret for having trusted the police with their case and wished they had never reported the crime”.
Most survivors contact the police because they do not want the perpetrator to offend again. But “only 14 percent of respondents said they felt safer as a result of what the police did, while 39 percent said they felt less safe”. One woman wrote, “I am more afraid of the police than being raped again.”
Andrea Simon, the director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAWC), said the survey showed that the criminal justice system was “often a site of harm” for survivors of rape.
The EVAWC added, “Our culture of disbelief and victim-blaming stops women reporting sexual violence. This is reinforced each time we see victims being dismissed and sexual violence minimised in the media, our friendship groups, on social media. As a society we must do better.”
The survey also heard from 190 survivors who chose not to report to the police. The most common reason given was because they felt too ashamed and embarrassed, followed by a fear they wouldn’t be believed and a lack of trust in police.
This research also underlines that the police treat victims differently depending on whether they fit a societal myth about rape.
It says, “Experiences of the police vary depending on whether the perpetrator is a current intimate partner, family member, or complete stranger. Survivors of intimate current partner sexual violence consistently reported poor police experiences across indicators.”
Endnote: Read the full report at tinyurl.com/CityReport0923Original post