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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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i leave this in your ear
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Stealing from meret, because every day is fuck up a victim day.

Via Jezebel: Police Assault Woman Who Called for Help; Sue News Station Who Exposes Them, in which Hope Steffey calls the police after being assaulted by her cousin, is then arrested (I bet you didn't see that coming), taken to jail, booked, then, as is common in jails not located in third world dictatorships, is forcibly stripped naked by male and female officers and left naked in a cell for six hours.

No, wait....

[Complete report at Shakesville. Note: video may be triggery for some.]

Granted, I have never been arrested and everything I know about arresting and booking comes from TV. So I had this weird moment of cognitive dissonance. Now this will sound crazy, people, but I'm not really sure this is okay behavior. I mean, I know, totally not law enforcement, what do I know?

Well. Here's what I'm pretty sure of. A woman is arrested for reporting her own assault, the cop-cam video mysteriously truncated, she is booked, taken to a cell, strip searched by male and female officers, then convicted of--okay, wait for it, but I bet you can guess--resisting arrest and disorderly conduct....

Do you think--this is just like, totally out there--maybe the resisting arrest and disorderly conduct are related to being stripped naked while screaming in terror? See, those of us not in the police profession call it a natural, terrified reaction to sexual assault by strangers. Then again, I have always been totally radical about bodily autonomy and the non-public property of my sexual organs, so take that as you will.

I really want to make a comment on that. Then I watch the video and forget to breathe.


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wow. do you know if there is research into how often these particular kind of scenarios occur? i'm not surprised, but no less outraged.

Actually, I was googling that as well. I may check some of the feminist blogs to see if there's linkage: God knows if its on the net, someone there has it.

I work with law enforcement officers every day (radio dispatcher), so my point of view is probably decidedly biased. Officers are routinely treated to disrespect, violence, bodily fluids of ALL kinds being thrown, spit, vomited on, etc and most take it simply as one of the things about the job that you just put up with. The element of people you deal with on a daily basis are not the most sterling examples of humanity.

I also know, from firsthand experience, that the information that is given to the public is never the full story, and that even if it makes the police look very bad, some things must remain private to protect the privacy of both victims and suspects in some case. Things can look very bad from the outside view, and through the sensationalized lens that modern media puts such incidents. Clearly, not all the facts are being present here, and may never BE presented.

HOWEVER, that long-winded disclaimer said, there is NO excuse for strip search, no matter HOW valid the reasons may or may not have been that required such a search, for it to EVER be conducted by a member of the opposite sex. Period. The fact that it was mentioned that it was directly against the department's policy alone is a big red flag. Doesn't matter how many female officers you have on duty, you wait until you can get enough of them to conduct such a thing. I've had to 'lend' female officers to other agencies for just such a reason.


For the first part--I agree.

For the second part, I agree to the universal concept. The video, however, didn't just unnerve me badly; I had the same visceral reaction I have to certain types of horror movies. I can't think of a context that what was shown there would be acceptable, unless we move into serious fantasy and sci-fi or say, an episode of 24.

For the third--yes. This.

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Apparently, it was thrown out of local, so it's going federal. I keep boggling at that. And teh officers that keep saying "IT WAS OKAY HONESTLY WE WOULD DO THIS TO ANYONE NOT JUST THIS ONE TOTALLY HYSTERICAL WOMAN". Because--really, Sparky? You would? You've just raised my confidence in humankind like whoa. And by raised, I mean, lowered.

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oh man. :( that's actually rather scary and everything they did was completely unnecessary!

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You have to wonder what they were thinking.

I--okay, I can't go and read the whole story, because triggery, yes, but I don't need to read the whole story to become so furious I can't breathe. In what universe does the woman calling to report an assault get arrested? What, did they discover it was her fault? Sorry, I just--she was assaulted and they strip-search her and leave her alone in a cell naked, taking away her control over her own body AGAIN? *breathes* Is there any way at all that you could possibly update this post if you find any letter-writing campaign or anything at all being done on her behalf? Obviously you don't have to if you don't have time and stuff, it's your journal, but I thought I'd ask.

Yes, definitely. From what I read, it's going to federal court this summer, so I'll mark this to follow up on.

This whole thing is stupid and ridiculous and *wrong* and oh, that poor woman I hope she's recovering from this well. But the thing that makes me RAGE is the fact that there's a clip from the security cameras showing a woman following them around with a *camcorder* and none of what she's taped has been released. Assuming that she taped most of the events in the police station we'd have a better idea of just what went down, though I don't think anything would make that strip search okay.

This is horrific on all levels and I can't even fathom how one goes legitimately from being called to an assault case to arresting the victim. I assume the assaulting cousin was male?

That said, this is actually what struck me most: The sheriff's office contends that deputies removed Steffey's clothing as a suicide precaution on the orders of a psychologist after she made a statement to a nurse indicating that she might harm herself.

This is so much bullshit. I'm thinking if it's true, the psychologist himself (and you better believe it's a guy) should be stripped of his right to ever call himself that again. I was going to say there were rare instances where stripping someone down to prevent suicide might be necessary, but I tried to come up with a single one that couldn't have been handled differently and I'm drawing a blank. There are always other options, the first one being actually talking to the person. She was clearly in a state to communicate if she was saying these things to a nurse, and clearly not violent or out of her mind at the time.

I just can't figure out how any of this makes sense to the people involved, how they can justify this.

After reading the original article I couldn't even try to watch the vid.

Yeah, the whole thing boils down to men strip-searching a woman. That's against any rule in just about every cop department anywhere.

As for the whole "being stripped because a shrink indicates self-harm" -- I've never been arrested but I have had the *joy* of dealing with people I've known being involuntarily committed. If you are, they will ask you to remove your clothing. If you do not, they WILL TEAR YOUR CLOTHES RIGHT OFF OF YOU. Someone I know was forcibly stripped in front of his mother. This was someone over 18, too. (Hell, I think he was over 21). What mental institutions will do to you in the name of "preventing self-harm" is such a heaping crock of crap that... I'm not even gonna get myself worked up right now.

*deeep breath*

I will say, however, that when I later confronted his assigned psychiatrist about the above "treatment," she said, in the most condescending, you-are-a-fucking-moron tone of voice, "Well, how do you think his MOTHER would feel if we didn't prevent him from killing himself?"

For the record, his mother was horrified and mortified at her son's treatment. And my (other) friends had to hold me back, because I tried very hard to punch that psychiatrist into the next decade.

Anyway. Yeah, I can see the cops using that as an excuse for a strip search, since the mental hospitals do it.

I seriously don't see how they can justify a forceable strip-search/stripping of someone who is already contemplating suicide--I mean, I see why they would want the goal of nothing they could use to kill themselves, but honestly, the whole act of being forceably stripped is so demeaning and humiliating that it can only exacerbate the person's already in-the-toilet sense of self-worth! I don't see that as helpful! I see that as something that makes them mistrust the people that are ostensibly meant to be helping them and setting them back by a LONG WAY to recovery.

That's appalling. Also, I was curious about Stark County, Ohio—wondering how big it was, mostly, and if that poor woman would be running into the people who assaulted her every day. It has over 300,000 people so maybe not. Wikipedia mentions this case on the page under controversies.

oh gods, that's the county with CANTON.

That's the city where they once (in the past few years or so) discovered a huge number of high school girls pregnant. Some absurdly high percentage.

I have friends from there. They all say the area has major issues. Hooboy.

This is utterly, utterly terrifying. My first instinct was to think that it wouldn't be worth it to call the police if something bad happened to me in that area, no matter what it was. That's scary enough in and of itself, frankly.

They couldn't have stopped and said WHY they were doing that? Does a terrified half-naked woman's pleas of 'why are you doing this' when they're stripping off their clothes in a CO-ED setting not merit a response? Or did they just tune out all her cries... How can human beings do this to each other :C

This is not *okay behavior*. The police officers and detectives I used to work with would have strong and profane words for anyone who would do that to a rape victim.

Assault -- it's really not made clear what sort of assault she originally complained about, given the way she was convicted for complaining and all.

Unbelievable. I saw this on the news the other night - it happened about 45 minutes south of where I live. Jesus.

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