NYPD captain Peter Rose has angered rape advocates after saying "acquaintance rape" cases are not as serious as rapes committed by strangers.
DNAinfo reported that reports of sex attacks in Greenpoint, Brooklyn were up 62 percent in 2016. According to police statistics, a majority of these attacks have not led to arrests. Out of 13 reported rapes and attempted rapes, only three have been solved.
Rose blamed the lack of arrests on the fact that most of the rapes were committed by someone the victim knew. He claimed that the victims would eventually stop cooperating with investigators leaving them technically unsolved. "If there’s no complainant," Rose said then the police couldn't make an arrest.
"Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more," Rose told DNAinfo. "It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators. Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of them were actually co-workers. It's not a trend that we're too worried about because out of 13 [sex attacks], only two were true stranger rapes."
Rose added, "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."
According to DNAinfo, in a community meeting days later Rose continued to imply that certain kinds of rape are more severe than others, saying acquaintance rapes are "not total-abomination rapes where strangers are being dragged off the streets."
However, most rapes are not committed by strangers. A 2012 study from the Center Of Disease Control found that among female rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be "intimate partners" 51.1% of the time and acquaintances 40.8% of the time. By comparison, only 13.8% female victims reported that they were raped by a stranger.
In an interview with The Guardian, Jennifer Gentile Long, the CEO of Aequitas, a group that advises prosecutors in sex crime cases, said that studies consistently show this to be the case. “Very few rapes are by strangers dragging people off the streets,” she said. “One of the best weapons a rapist has is to get a victim in a position where they may be trusting, feeling like they know this person.”
Long also noted that ignoring cases in which the victim knows their rapist could lead to more harm being that serial rapists often attack those they know and strangers.
Rape advocacy groups were quick to criticize the insensitivity of Rose's comments. The National Organization for Women (NOW) asked New Yorkers to tell the NYPD to take rape seriously by protesting in Brooklyn next week. "A commanding officer of the NYPD thinks that if you are raped on a Tinder date or by a friend, it’s not as much of an 'abomination' as being raped by a 'true' stranger," NOW wrote on their website. "This is outrageous and unacceptable."
NOW's Director of Advocacy Jane Manning told DNAinfo that Rose's comments set "a tone for all the officers" in how seriously to take rape cases committed by acquaintances. "When I hear the phrase we didn't have a cooperating victim, my antenna always goes up," Manning said. "If you hear 'I can't get the victim to cooperate' in case after case, you should be asking yourself what are they failing to do?"
In a statement, the NYPD said that “Captain Rose’s comments did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints." The statement explained that every rape that is reported is "thoroughly investigated by specially trained detectives in the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit." Rose is not a member of that division, but officers in his precinct would take the initial report before referring the case to SVU.
"All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are committed by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers," the statement continued. "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.”
The office of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio would later release its own statement saying Rose's comments "do not represent the views of the Mayor, our administration, or of an NYPD that is committed to fighting for survivors of sexual assault. Rape is rape, in New York City and everywhere else."
There is no word yet if Rose will face any consequences over his comments.