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‘Police Advice Not Victim Blaming’

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MINISTER of National Security Wayne Munroe. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

By Earyel Bowleg

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

POLICE advice issued after a sex attack was given to help keep people safe and not to blame the victim, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said yesterday.

His response came after criticism of police advice issued in the wake of an attack on a woman jogging in New Providence in the early morning hours on Wednesday. A man pulled her into bushes and sexually assaulted her.

Superintendent Audley Peters told The Tribune a similar incident happened last week – and in a statement, police advised women to use necessary caution while exercising and to be aware of their surroundings when arriving at home. The statement also said that on arrival at home, a thorough search of the dwelling should be conducted and ensure that all doors and windows are properly secured.

Following that statement, there was criticism, suggesting it was victim blaming and questioning why women were being told what to do rather than directing comments at criminals or increasing police patrols to ensure people are safe.

Mr Munroe argued, however, that the statement was not blaming the victim.

He said: “Well, the one I saw is not unlike the advice that tells you during Christmas not to leave packages on the seat exposed, try to keep yourself safe, and the police give advice on that on all crimes, including if you would’ve seen the ones on counterfeiting. They actually physically went around and told people how to keep themselves safe from counterfeiting. Nobody is suggesting that anybody is responsible for crime being committed against them.

“When the police give advice as to how people may act to keep themselves safe, that’s all it is. That does not excuse the offender. So the fact that I leave my wallet in my car and an offender can see it, that doesn’t excuse him if he steals it. If he breaks in my car and steals my package, the police will arrest him and (the) courts will sentence him. How I view the advice police gives us is just to advise us of prudent steps to keep yourself safe. It’s not blaming you for anything. It’s just saying these are steps you may take to keep yourself safe.”

This latest incident follows an alleged rape and assault that took place off Prince Charles Drive in April. Asked whether there is a concern of a rise in sexual assaults against women, Mr Munroe noted that during COVID there were increases in instances of domestic violence and sexual assaults.

He said: “Well, that was a concern that was noted up by the Royal Bahamas Police Force from during COVID where they said that the instances of domestic violence and sexual assaults were increasing. I’ve seen the alerts about it and as the police say they are asking for the assistance of the public in finding these persons. They’ve given advice too, it’s not just women who are the subject of sexual assaults, but increasingly now men as well and children as to how we may keep ourselves safe - but as I say, it is a form of a crime that is difficult to understand.”

Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said he did not know if there is an increase, but noted there has been conversations about the issue.

“I don’t know it’s an increase, but we’ve been talking a lot about it recently and so you sensitise the people about it and so it’s more in the consciousness and so we don’t want to see it all. We don’t want to see it all but they continue to happen off and on. We just want to encourage persons, when they are going out, as we’ve been saying, you try not to walk alone and walking in dark areas. You go exercising, make sure to have good support and a few persons with you to prevent these things from happening,” the police chief said.

“I don’t know it’s an increase, but we’ve been talking a lot about it recently and so you sensitise the people about it and so it’s more in the consciousness and so we don’t want to see it all. We don’t want to see it all, but they continue to happen off and on. We just want to encourage persons when they are going out as we’ve been saying you try not to walk alone and walking in dark areas. You go exercising, make sure have good support and few persons with you to prevent these things from happening.”

The incident was in the daily crime report a week after it happened. Asked why a sexual assault case was not included in the daily crime report, Mr Rolle gave an assurance that there was nothing to hide.

He said: “That may have been an oversight and we address that already and there’s no secret we send out the information advising persons to be cautious and we also increased our police presence - undercover.”

He also added that a suspect had been detained.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 6 days, 16 hours ago

"Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said he did not know if there is an increase"

And that's the problem. The Police Commissioner cant reports sensibly on the status of crime in the country? This is inexcusable.how hard is it to compile cases reported to police and match them to cases reported at the hospital. IN fact isnt the hospital by law required to report crimes? No commissioner should be able to say, I dont know if theres an increase in rapes. And not to beat up on Mr Rolle, its likely noone knew the answer. And if you think you hiding it from tourists think again, they'll (and we will) make up the numbers and the size of the problem if they feel you're not transparent

I do wonder if these "tips" are useful. I suppose repeating is wise, but the police really need to move to an intelligence based service. Why have rapes skyrocketed? Figure that out.

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LastManStanding 6 days, 14 hours ago

People just choose to be outraged over anything nowadays, the real problem is that too many people give the blue haired folk their attention. Ignore the attention seeking behaviour and it will go away.

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ThisIsOurs 6 days, 4 hours ago

Beg to differ. Something is happening in this country, the size of the problem is being hidden so we look appealing in the tourism ads. And it's not just rapes its everything, from COVID to armed robbery to assaults... there's a deliberate strategy to pretend it's not as bad as it is. Or at least to hide as bad as it is. When it reach albany doorstep its gonna be too late

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LastManStanding 5 days, 21 hours ago

I was more so referring to how the police simply giving advice on how to stay safe is "victim blaming". Bad people are going to exist no matter what, taking measures for your security is something you have to do no matter where you live. Even the homes in Albany have security systems.

I think COVID deaths are overestimated, if anything. The testing methods simply are not reliable. Plenty of false positives (albeit there are false negatives too). Either way, I think it is time to stop counting COVID cases. We have clearly reached a point where it is going to be endemic, and the IFR is low enough to justify ignoring it completely. Just going to have to live with it.

When it comes to crime, no politician has touched on the root issue yet. You are going to have to fix the family unit in order to solve that issue (ie. bring it down to an acceptable level). Some people steal or sell dope to eat, not going to deny that, but the vast majority of these criminals are not raised in a proper two parent home with a mother and father, and so the gangs end up raising them. We are reaping the rewards of the over promiscuous and hypersexualized nature of Bahamian society. Children are giving birth to children. To fix this, the government needs to put a higher priority on encouraging marriage and restoring traditional Christian values in this society. The gender activists are not going to be enthused, but who cares? Our two choices are to reestablish order, or live with two a day murders, frequent armed robberies, and rape. Bottom line.

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