Gothamist reported this week that a woman who was drugged and raped in a LES bar was accused of being “a party girl” by one of the police officers she reported her rape to. The rape victim, Pepper Ellett, believes she was drugged and has no memory of much of the attack. Gothamist quoted Ellett as saying: “But [the officer] said, ‘That just doesn’t make any sense. Maybe you’re a party girl. You know regrettable sex is not the same as rape.’”
Woah. Hold up. We need to address this right now.
Here are 5 reasons why what this officer said was completely unprofessional, out of line, and should probably get him fired:
1. Just because you like to party, doesn’t mean you’re looking for sex everywhere
Wasn’t anyone paying attention when P!nk released U + Ur Hand in 2006? That was almost 10 years ago, people. There is such a thing as a woman going out with the intention of going home alone. Women aren’t at the bar for the purpose of entertaining men. They’re there to entertain themselves.
2. Just because you like partying AND sex, doesn’t mean you want to be raped
So what if a woman might like to go home with someone tonight? That doesn’t mean she’s going to be sexually attracted to just any person who walks up to her. She’s not required to say yes to the first man who propositions her, just because she wore dress that she hopes will look attractive to Mr. Perfect, on the off-chance he shows up.
3. Just because you like to party, doesn’t mean you’re a liar
Are people who party less trustworthy than people who don’t party? This New York. I guarantee every person has some friends who party and some friends who don’t party, and you don’t call half of them liars and the other half truth-tellers based on how they spend their time between the hours of 10pm and 2am.
4. Just because you like to party, it doesn’t mean you don’t know the difference between rape and regrettable sex
Regrettable sex means a night in with your best friend and a couple pints of ice cream. Rape means years of trauma, therapy, and a struggle to regain your sense of security. As Ellett said, “You think I’d choose to be here in the hospital?”
5. Just because you like to party, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve justice after you’ve been victimized
A girl who goes out and drinks and parties and gets raped is not just a bimbo who should have known better than to get drunk and is somehow “learning her lesson.” She’s the victim of a crime who deserves to have her attacker brought to justice. And she certainly doesn’t deserve to be interrogated and mistreated by cops who don’t know what they’re talking about.
Pepper Ellett posted her story on Facebook and was sent a flood of messages from women who were also raped, some of whom were also belittled or ignored by the police. This isn’t just the case in New York—it happens everywhere. And it needs to stop.