Members of the community and New York Police Department are taking action after at least 10 recent cases of unsolved sexual assaults in South Park Slope and the surrounding Brooklyn areas since March.
However, some residents are bristling at reports that some NYPD officers are putting some of the blame on how women in the area are dressing:
Lauren, a South Slope resident, was walking home three blocks from the gym on Monday when she was stopped.
The 25-year-old, who did not want her last name to be used, was wearing shorts and a T-shirt when she claims a police officer asked if she would stop and talk to him. He also stopped two other women wearing dresses.
According to Lauren, the officer asked if they knew what was going on in the neighborhood. When they answered in the affirmative, he asked if they knew what the guy was looking for.
“He pointed at my outfit and said, ‘Don’t you think your shorts are a little short?’” she recalled.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne was quick to respond, telling the Wall Street Journal in an email that officers have no intention of telling women how to dress, but rather were simply alerting them to the modus operandi of the suspected assailant(s). Nonetheless, the residents behind a new group, Safe Slope, formed to help protect women in the area, posted a response on their website and Facebook page. Wrote Safe Slope founder Jessica Silk:
“There have been reports that the women attacked were all wearing skirts,” she said. “Unfortunately this might be a common link between the women that were attacked but the message shouldn’t be that you shouldn’t wear a skirt. The message should be that, ‘Here are ways that you can protect yourself.’”