In 2015, there were eight cases of rape or attempted rape reported in the Brooklyn, NY, neighborhood of Greenpoint.
In 2016, Greenpoint saw 13 reported cases of sexual violence—a 61% increase from the previous year, according to the official New York City crime map.
You’d think a statistical leap like that would be alarming to law enforcement officials, but one New York City police officer doesn’t seem quite as worried as you might expect. For 94th Precinct captain Peter Rose, it comes down to a question of “true stranger rape.”
“Every rape should be investigated. I wish we could do more,” Rose told the website DNAInfo.com. “It really becomes a balancing act for the investigators.”
“Some of them were Tinder, some of them were hookup sites, some of theme were actually coworkers,” Rose continued. “It’s not a trend that we’re too worried about because out of 13 , only two were true stranger rapes.”
Rose later elaborated on his theories about “true stranger rape” at a community meeting on Wednesday where, according to DNAinfo, he explained that “If there’s a true stranger rape, a random guy picks up a stranger off the street.
“Those are the troubling ones,” he added. “That person has, like, no moral standards.”
Rose’s attitude—that nightmarish, anonymous assaults are evidently what constitute a “true” form of rape—is indicative of what Fusion contributor Lux Alptrum described this past August as part of a flawed dichotomy, which sees capital-R Rape on one side, and “normal, chill,” and “obviously consensual” sex on the other. To ascribe “no moral standards” to one form of rape is, accordingly, a tacit suggestion that other instances of sexual assault are, somehow, more morally defensible.
It’s no wonder that, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, just 344 out of every 1000 assaults is reported to the police. (It’s also that kind of thinking that infamously led former Rep. Todd Akin to distinguish between “legitimate” rapes and…whatever the other kind is.)
According to Rose, the challenge with rape cases in which the victim knows the alleged perpetrator is that often police reports aren’t filed, or followed through with.
“If there’s no complainant,” he told DNAInfo, “[Police] can’t make an arrest.”
That may be true. But a worldview which characterizes some cases of rape as “the troubling ones” doesn’t seem to be helping much, either.
In an email to me, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen P. Davis addressed his colleague’s remarks, saying:
Captain Rose’s comments did not properly explain the complexity of issues involved with investigating rape complaints. Every report of rape is thoroughly investigated by specially trained detectives in the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit. All complaints of rape and other types of sexual crimes are taken seriously whether they are committed by domestic partners, acquaintances, or strangers.
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 NYPD encourages victims of rape to report those incidents to us. In fact, the Department has conducted several outreach campaigns over the last three years to encourage additional reporting of rape and sexual assault from victims, including creating a special hotline for victims to call. The NYPD’s Special Victims Unit detectives work closely with advocacy groups, medical staff, and other support organizations in providing victim awareness, outreach assistance programs, and services. Any victim of rape or sexual assault can call the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit at 646-610-7272.