A series of sexual assaults in the South Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn have residents scared. The cops' solution: don't wear skirts.
Twenty-five-year-old South Slope resident Lauren tells the Wall Street Journal that a police officer stopped her and two other women while they were walking in the neighborhood. She says,
He pointed at my outfit and said, 'Don't you think your shorts are a little short?' He pointed at their dresses and said they were showing a lot of skin.
He also told her that "you're exactly the kind of girl this guy is targeting." NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne explained the encounter thus:
Officers are not telling women what not to wear — there's a TV series that does that. 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.
Oh Paul, your disarming pop-culture knowledge makes your anti-skirt campaign seem totally reasonable! Except it doesn't. Since the attacks have occurred in summer and early fall, and skirts are an extremely popular form of warm-weather clothing for women, it really doesn't tell us anything that would-be rapists have supposedly been targeting skirt-wearers. The police might as well say the attackers have been targeting women. And even if criminals were seeking out women in skirts, the solution to that is to catch the criminals. The NYPD hasn't been doing a bang-up job of this so far, especially since they apparently ignored one victim's 911 call. Said one South Slope resident back in April, "Basically there's a sense that the police aren't going to do anything. And that encourages this kind of crime."
On the bright side, one Jay "Rocket" Ruiz has taken matters into his own hands. He's organized the Brooklyn Bike Patrol, whose volunteers escort women home from 11 subway stations. He says, "We just want to get people home safe." He tells the Journal that his name is a "stage name," so it's hard to say who his mild-mannered alter ego is, but my money is on someone with glasses.
A Thin Line On Skirts [WSJ]