Jenna Piasecki, Buffalo News

When Byron Brown stated that India Walton favors restorative justice practices, which would mean “no jail time for rapists,” it upset many rape survivors, myself included. The analysis of 2010-2014 Department of Justice data by the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network showed that only .6% of rapes result in incarceration. Most sexual assault survivors know this already, and don’t expect that a police report of a rape will result in jail time for the perpetrator.

byron brown

Brown has had 15 years to improve the Buffalo Police Department’s approach to how rape survivors in Buffalo are treated. He could have taken steps by now to partner a social worker with a police officer to take the survivor’s statement in a supportive and caring approach. He could have changed the common practice of sending two male police officers to take domestic violence and sexual assault statements from traumatized survivors, often with little empathy. He could have made changes to ensure that everything possible is done to encourage survivors to report sexual assaults, and that those reports result in the perpetrators being brought to justice. He could have ensured that BPD prioritizes DV and rape calls made to 911.

Survivors of rape in Buffalo know all too well that here and across the country, incarceration rates of rapists are extremely low, and that the process does not prioritize the needs of the survivor. Brown could have worked to change this in Buffalo, but instead he rather fearmonger with false claims.

Jenna Piasecki

Buffalo

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