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. "He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin."
He said that such clothing could make the suspect think he had "easy access," said Lauren.
She said the officer explained that "you're exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting."
Asked whether officers were warning women against wearing shorts or skirts, the New York City Police Department responded in no time.
"Officers are not telling women what not to wear—there's a TV series that does that," quipped Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne in an email. "They are simply pointing out that as part of the pattern involving one or more men that the assailant(s) have targeted women wearing skirts."
Note to the NYPD: It should be apparent by now that commenting on women's clothing is not a good idea, no matter how good the intention.
So it should come as no surprise that a grass-roots group formed in the wake of the attacks, Safe Slope, has criticized this alleged tactic—among other things—in an open letter posted on its website and Facebook page.
Jessica Silk, one of Safe Slope's founders, called such interaction with police "completely inappropriate."
"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.'"
Lauren said she's been surprised by the male responses to the incident—including from her own father. She said the consensus among men is that while it was inappropriate for the officer to broach such a topic, they all think he has a point.
Oh FOR FUCKS SAKE. >_< Police: ur doing it wrong. And I get what they're trying to do. And I also understand that in this case it appears the rapist they are trying to catch does have a type (and is the stranger danger kind of rapist). It's the way they're doing it. >_<;;
Women aren't children. Release the profile of the rapist's targets, and let women decide what we should do. We're not idiots. If we hear that a rapist is targeting only women in skirts, we can make our own decisions on whether we want to wear a skirt or shorts when we go out. -_- For that matter, how short is too short? Like are LONG skirts ok? Will he not rape me if the skirt is 2 inches higher? Can ppl sue the police if they wear pants and get raped neways?
If you think women might not notice the profile, and you rly want to warn ppl, these same police officers that are right now being the clothing police can talk to ALL ppl in the area, men and women, regardless of dress, about the rapist, his type, and etc.. I mean isn't that in general a good idea? First off, like I said, what if that's NOT his type? If you honestly mean to warn ppl, it's stupid to ignore ppl that could still be targets. And again, what if the women get raped neways? The police are using their positions as authorities on the subject to imply that you'll be safe based on how you're dressed and that might give ppl a false sense of security. Is that going to make ppl more safe?
And both men and women should be aware if there's a person running around the area assaulting ppl. Again, if it's such a danger that you feel you need to send police out to tell ppl, tell ALL ppl and give them ALL the info and LET THEM DECIDE HOW TO LIVE THEIR LIVES!
Also, what if there's a rapist targeting Asian women? I've been harassed by Asianphiles before... will the police start stopping Asian women telling us we look too Asian? We should change our hairstyles, or wear sunglasses, or makeup or something? -_- I can just imagine it... "ma'am, don't you think your bangs make you look a little too Asian? You look a bit like a delicate Asian flower to me. Tsk tsk..."
Women aren't children. Don't treat us like we are.