deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Deepa D. ([personal profile] deepad) wrote2010-05-21 16:10

Just another example of rape culture...

The University of Minnesota has its own Police department, and every time a crime of some sort happens on or near campus (or to a student), it sends out a mass email. This was the one they sent out yesterday:
Subject: Public Safety Alert, Twin Cities Campus
On Thursday, May 20 at approximately 12:30 a.m. a University of Minnesota student was the victim of criminal sexual conduct-rape. The crime occurred off campus at Sally’s Saloon at 712 Washington Avenue SE (map below) and is under investigation by the Minneapolis Police Department.

As the victim entered a single-person restroom, the suspect forced his way into the restroom and locked the door. The suspect sexually assaulted the victim, and witnesses saw the suspect exit the restroom and leave the area.

The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 23-25 years old, five feet six inches to five feet eight inches tall, with a medium build and short blondish-brown hair. The suspect was wearing a red t-shirt with possible white writing on it. Officers searched the area for the suspect, but were unable to find anyone matching the description.

This crime is being investigated by the Minneapolis Police Department. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Sgt. [name redacted] at Minneapolis Police Department at [redacted]. Reference case number [redacted].

The University of Minnesota Police Department asks that you remember the following:

* When threatened with a weapon, it's best not to resist. Your personal safety is more important than a lost wallet or cell phone.
* Always be aware of your surroundings.
* Walk in well lit areas and don't walk alone. If you can't find someone to walk with, call the Campus Escort service at 612-624-WALK for a free security escort.
* Carry minimal amounts of valuables.
* Keep written records of valuables, including model and serial numbers, in a safe place.
* Call 911 immediately if you are the victim or witness to a crime.
* Document information about the suspect for police (i.e. clothing descriptions, facial features, piercings or tattoos, speech, etc.).

This Crime Alert is sent in compliance with the federal Clery Act which requires universities to alert the campus community of crimes that may pose an ongoing threat to students and employees. For updates on any developments in this case, please visit the Crime Alerts page on the UMPD website.

For more on campus safety and security, and for a list of campus safety resources available to you, visit the University's Emergency Preparedness Web site.

This message was sent by the University Police Chief [name redacted] to all Twin Cities students, faculty, and staff.


Why am I saying this email perpetuates rape culture?

Because the rape happened in the bathroom of a restaurant. All the walking in brightly lit areas accompanied by a security escort could not prevent it.

Because mugging and burglary and theft and the sorts of physical assaults that accompany those crimes are different from sexual assault.

Because accompanying an announcement of a rape with a list of 'how to protect your valuables' instructions draws a straight line towards victim blaming, and treating bodies (primarily those of women, although I appreciate that the gender of the survivor has not been specified) as objects needing protection.

Because nowhere in the email is the concept of sexual violence or gender violence mentioned, nor a link provided to The Aurora Center and its 24-hour crisis line. Because the first number a rape survivor might want to call is not always 911, nor should it be.

Because in the five years I have been receiving public safety emails from the University, not once have I seen any acknowledgement of the fact that, in fact, the most efficient way to prevent rape is to educate potential rapists into an awareness of their actions that prevents them from raping.

Because prevention is supposed to be part of a polic department's crime fighting job, and rape culture within it needs to be talked about before it can even begin to be dismantled.
manifesta: (Default)

[personal profile] manifesta 2010-05-21 21:34 (UTC)(link)
I cringed even before clicking the cut link.

I'm so tired of seeing lists like this.
manifesta: (Default)

[personal profile] manifesta 2010-05-22 21:15 (UTC)(link)
It's not your fault! Thank you for making us all aware of what's going on.