Poignant Words From Accuser in NYPD Rape Case

More than two years ago, a young woman came forward about a pair of police offers who had been called to escort her from a taxi to her home because she was too drunk to make it alone. She said the officers came back to her apartment and that she came to consciousness to find one of the men raping her.

We still don’t know her name, but we know a lot more about how she feels after the ordeal of pressing charges against the two officers in a rape case that was watched around the country. The idea that law enforcement officials would take advantage of the person they were charged to protect caught the attention of many, as did the video footage showing the cops returning several times to the woman’s apartment, and recordings of a bogus 911 call they allegedly placed in order to put themselves at the scene.

The offers were fired and convicted of lesser charges; but the jury’s “not guilty” verdict on the rape charges prompted widespread shock, difficult conversations about how society views rape and even an impromptu rally.

Last night, the alleged victim, 29 and now living in California, released a statement that was utterly compelling and shed light on her ordeal.

The statement also contained an overwhelming amount of gratitude toward the woman’s family and friends, and to the team at the District Attorney’s Office, whom she said “gave me a voice after a night when I had none.”

As for why the verdict turned out the way it did, Women’s eNews has an exclusive interview with Melinda Hernandez, one of the jurors, who says she is a feminist and is absolutely devastated by the outcome of the case.

The entire Q&A is a must-read. Most crucially, though, Hernandez said she had major concerns about the way evidence was handled, including the fact that it went through a New York City Police Department lab instead of an independent lab. And she said she wished women’s groups had been protesting during the trial instead of just after the verdict.

Of the accuser, Hernandez said:

Still I wonder if the jury wasn’t overly influenced by the alleged victim’s drunkenness, as multiple quotes from jurors have indicated.

One has to wonder what would have happened if it had been a young man in the cab and the police called to protect him and take him home had chosen to beat him up and rob him instead. Would his lack of sobriety have been quite as big a sticking point? My firm guess is no. We have a lot more work to do, a lot more interrogation of our own beliefs and a lot more training of cops and of jurors to combat the ingrained prejudices that seep into our worldview when it comes to notions of consent.

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