A woman says the Denver Police Department and Adams County Sheriff’s Office would not take her rape reports because she is experiencing homelessness.
I speak with the woman and the PIOs of both law enforcement agencies in today's episode.
Life for a woman experiencing homelessness can be hard enough just surviving day to day on the mean streets of Denver, Co.
According to VAWnet: The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women:
Homelessness is an enormous social problem in the United States. Homeless women — including the 'hidden homeless' — are particularly vulnerable to multiple forms of victimization including forced, coerced, or manipulated sexual activity. Levels of victimization that women endure before, during, and after episodes of homelessness remain enormously high, often occurring in multiple settings at the hands of multiple perpetrators. For example, 92% of a large, racially diverse sample of homeless mothers had experienced severe physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives (Browne & Bassuk, 1997). Thirteen percent of another sample of homeless women reported having been raped in the past 12 months, and half of these women were raped at least twice (Wenzel, et al., 2000).
But what happens when that woman survives the nightmare of being drugged, kidnapped, and raped. And then tries to report that rape to two different police agencies.
According to the woman in today’s interview, the police refused to take her rape report not once but twice because she was experiencing homelessness.
We hear the story of ‘K’ in her own words and then speak with the Public Information Officers of the Denver City Police Department and the Adams County Sheriff's Office to try and find out what may have happened.
This will be a multi-part series dealing with the issues of reporting sexual assault in the homeless communities of Colorado.
For full disclosure in this story, the victim ‘K’ has been a family friend since we attended high school together in Fort Collins, CO. We have kept in contact through the years.
I will update this story as we possibly find out more information through Colorado Open Records Act requests.
The Denver City Council Meeting I refer to in the episode where all but one council member walked out of the public comment section of the meeting is reported on here.
Support resources are available for victims locally through the Estes Valley Crisis Advocates (EVCA), which provide free and confidential services to survivors of crime and trauma and their families. Services are available 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can reach them via phone at (970) 577-9781 or through their website www.crisisadvocates.org.
Today’s podcast is sponsored by: