“Officers count on no one believing the victim if she reports,” Diane Wetendorf, who runs a counseling group in Chicago for women, told The Guardian. “And [they] know that the word of a woman of color is likely to be worth even less than the word of a white woman to those who matter in the criminal justice system.”
That’s the point.
For some in America, the lives of Black women are not valued. And for many months, this case was off the media’s radar. A white cop is accused of raping 13 Black women and after a few headlines, this tale of police abuse fades into the background, drowned out by stories like Donald Trump talking about his hair.
But now, during the trial, nine black women have testified that Holtzclaw raped them and their powerful testimonies can’t be disregarded easily.
“There was nothing that I could do,” said one woman who testified. She accused Holtzclaw of driving her to a field, raping her in the back of his squad car, and leaving her there. “He was a police officer and I was a woman.”
Another accuser, a 17-year-old girl, says Holtzclaw raped her on her mother’s front porch. And yet another alleged victim said Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sex while she was under the influence of drugs and handcuffed to a hospital bed.
“I didn’t think that no one would believe me,” the woman testified in a pre-trial hearing, according to The Associated Press. “I feel like all police will work together.” What am I going to do? Call the cops? He was a cop.”
Human rights activists say cases against police officers are hard to prosecute because jurors often believe the cops are innocent. And when race is a factor, it further complicates the jury’s decision.
In this case, 13 women all claim Holtzclaw preyed on them, raped them, and covered up his crimes by hiding behind his badge.
I’m hoping the jury doesn’t automatically dismiss the charges against Holtzclaw simply because he’s a cop and the women are African-American.
And here’s the broader point: This heinous crime was committed by a bigoted man who took an oath as a law enforcer to serve and protect all citizens – and that includes Black women, regardless of their station in life.
Where Are The Protests For The Oklahoma City Rape Accusers? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com