A 21-year old pre-med student in Tampa Bay, Florida last Saturday for the Gasparilla Parade was raped as she returned to her car. She called the police who escorted her to a rape crisis center where she was examined and received the first of two doses of a morning after pill, the second of which she was to receive within 24 hours. After she left the rape crisis center, she rode with police in their patrol car attempting to find the scene of the rape in the dark. Meanwhile, for reasons known not only to them but also to all of us who understand that policemen are rarely friends to women — and particularly raped women, and particularly if they, themselves, have raped women, which many of them have — did a police check on her and came up with a warrant issued three years ago because she hadn’t paid restitution on a burglary and grand theft charge when she was 17.
At that point, they stopped looking for the rape scene, put handcuffs on her, and threw her in jail where she spent the next two days. When she asked for her second dose of emergency contraception, a jail worker refused to provide it because it was against her religious convictions to provide emergency contraceptions, even to rape victims.
Her attorney had to go to the press before she was released.
In the reports I’ve read of this, there is all of this scrambling, people saying the policy is a flawed policy, the policy wasn’t violated, understand, but it needs to be changed, it isn’t any one person that is at fault, it is the “system” that is at fault, and so on.
Well, yes, the system is definitely at fault and the policies are definitely flawed and have already, as I understand, been changed.
Here’s what I haven’t read so far, so I will say it.
These policemen had no reason to run a police check on this woman. They ran it because they were looking for something, anything, any reason, to discredit her and to punish her. And why? Because many men resent the hell out of women who report that they have been raped. Because many men don’t believe women when they say they’ve been raped. Because many men believe women should be raped, especially if they are traditionally attractive and are wearing clothes men think invite rape. Because many men want to make it more difficult for women to report rape, especially men who, themselves, have raped women.
There is a lot of backtracking going on now about the refusal to provide emergency contraception. Jail officials are saying it wasn’t about the religious convictions of the staff person, it was just that they couldn’t dispense certain medications. They are saying that’s all the staff person said, that it wasn’t possible to provide emergency contraception.
Right. Because we all know that raped women are liars. They just make this stuff up. When in fact, it’s the jailers, isn’t it, who are making things up now, it’s the jail employee, as well, denying what has the last ring of truth in the ears of all of us, as women, who know exactly how these things go down.
I hope this woman sues the asses off of every last one of these people whose job it is to protect women against rapists and other kinds of dangerous men. I wish it were not so often the case, that in fact, when women are raped, it is to dangerous men to whom they must turn for “help.”