Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Police Departments Ignore Rampant Sexual Assault by Officers

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 10:12 By Candice Bernd, Truthout |
2014 702 wom fw(Image: Traumatized women via Shutterstock)
Nicole Smith is terrified that her rapist, a former police officer, is up for parole soon and could be released from prison, possibly as early as September 2015. Smith's name has been changed due to potential retribution from her attacker, should he be released.

Smith said that, upon first meeting this man, she trusted him because he was a police officer, and felt more comfortable and safe around him after seeing him in uniform and in his patrol car. When they started dating for a short time, she went to visit him in an undisclosed city one weekend.

She could never have predicted he would viciously attack her during their stay in a hotel room.
"He just, out of nowhere, like, it wasn't like he tried to have sex with me. It wasn't anything like that at all. It just, was not like that. He just started beating the shit out of me. It was crazy. He just started beating the shit out of me, and he had a gun," said Smith about that night, which was more than 20 years ago now. "I remember him telling me, 'You're never going home,' . . . I could feel the gun on my face."

Smith escaped from the hotel room after her attacker brutalized and raped her and fell asleep with the gun sitting on his lap. "I thought, this is it, this is my only chance," she recalled.

Smith got on the first short flight back to her own city in the same state, and when she arrived, a close friend took her to the hospital where authorities arrived shortly after to ask her questions about her ordeal. She remembers being terrified talking to the police - almost as much, she says, as she was during her attack. Smith didn't trust they would believe her over the word of her badge-wearing attacker. "My paranoia was beyond belief when I was talking to the police," she said.

If her friend hadn't taken her to the hospital, Smith isn't sure whether she would have talked to the police at all about her attack, and she's far from the only survivor of police sexual violence who feels that way.

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