Target: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo
Goal: Fire two police officers who made vulgar jokes about rape while on duty
Two police officers in Austin, Texas were caught on tape making crude jokes about rape while they were on duty. The video was pulled from the dashboard camera of a police car and determined to be authentic, yet their department doesn’t consider it “necessary” to fire them. The most they will get is mandatory sensitivity training.
When police departments across the country have shown themselves to have serious problems in dealing with sexual assault cases and victims, it’s completely unacceptable for officers of the law to be making jokes about rape at any time. Sensitivity training is not good enough and is very unlikely to create any change in the actual attitudes of these men who have power over both victims and any women they might pull over on the side of the road. There have been plenty of cases of police officers assaulting women in such situations, so it is incredibly important that each and every police officer in any department takes the issue of rape and sexual assault seriously.
By signing this petition, you’ll stand with women and sexual assault victims everywhere by demanding that these men be permanently removed from their positions and banned from being hired at any other department. We need to send a message to all police departments in the United States that attitudes like the ones displayed by these two officers are absolutely unacceptable. If we are ever going to stem the epidemic of rape in this country, the people who enforce our laws need to take it seriously.
Dear Chief Acevedo,
Recently, two of your police officers were caught on their own dashboard camera making crude jokes on the subject of rape. I hope you would agree that this is intolerable behavior for officers of the law, especially considering the fact that they will likely deal with rape victims at some point in their career and will most certainly interact with women. Unfortunately, I understand that they will be made to attend sensitivity training rather than actually being punished.
In the U.S. alone, one in five women will suffer rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. A big part of the reason for these staggering numbers is the fact that it isn’t taken very seriously by law enforcement or our culture at large, as was demonstrated by these two officers. Few rapists ever see jail time, mostly because victims are afraid to come forward and report the crime. They know they are unlikely to be believed and more likely to be bullied by the police officers they talk to instead of being taken seriously. By failing to adequately punish these officers who think that rape is so funny, you are contributing to the problem.
I demand that both of these men be fired immediately and banned from working in any police department in the country ever again. The only way to stop this kind of behavior that trivializes the issue and makes people unlikely to believe victims is to demonstrate that it will not be tolerated. “Sensitivity training” is not nearly good enough. If you have any compassion for rape victims or for the women in this country who have to live in fear, you’ll fire these jokers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rama via Wikimedia Commons