Statement From Victim in a 1994 Brooklyn Rape Case

On Friday, a senior New York police official apologized for sowing doubt in 1994 about the account of a woman who was raped in Prospect Park. Following is the statement the woman issued on Friday, shortly before the police official, John J. Miller, sent her his apology.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., quoting Theodore Parker

I’m grateful to Detective Andrea Sorrentino, who worked tirelessly on my case back in 1994, and to Detective Sarah Mathers who solved it 23 years later. I’m grateful that someone believed the four women James Webb raped after he raped me, and that he was finally brought to justice. I’m extremely grateful that James Webb is not eligible for parole until 2070.

Immediately after I was raped, the policemen who responded drove me around the park, stopping and questioning black men who looked nothing like the description I had given them. When I told them that as a black woman that made me uncomfortable, that it made me feel unsafe, they were visibly angry. I also wrote a statement that my friends and colleagues read aloud that weekend at a rally protesting violence against lesbians in Park Slope. I guess that made someone at 1 Police Plaza very angry. To see in print that police sources had called me a liar had a silencing effect on me, to say the least. I paid a terrible, terrible price for my #MeToo.

Today larger societal issues are framing my personal experience of trauma, just as they did then. There are thousands of cold cases, thousands more rape kits from the 1990’s and beyond that have not been tested with modern technology. Don’t those victims deserve closure, too? There are still victims receiving substandard treatment from cops and ER doctors who don’t know how to deal with assault victims sensitively. Can’t we put training in place to correct that? Most disturbingly, stories of assault are…

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