Tuesday, September 02, 2008

ND women gang raped/ignored


I read this in the paper this weekend and felt sick. So be forewarned... this is an article about gang rape and it is graphic and disturbing.

The entire article is here. Sign in with the following user name and password.

In the story the victim and her husband are given aliases -- Craig and Nancy Peterson. The alleged attackers are not named. The story states that Craig and Nancy were going through martial troubles and agreed that Nancy could have an affair. She went out to a street dance looking to meet someone.

...Nancy and her friends went to a street dance in town. The group visited three bars. At the Top Hat, Nancy met a guy.

“I ran up against him, and then we just started talking,” she said. “I pretty much told him my husband cheated on me, and I was planning on cheating on him.”

A random guy in earshot expressed interest.

“No. Just one person,” Nancy fired back. “I’m not going to be with more than one person.”

The man Nancy had her sights on wound up getting in a fight. He bolted from the bar with a buddy, and she followed.

“Halfway to the house, (Nancy’s guy) got arrested, so I decided to go home with the other guy.

“… I know it’s all very bad,” Nancy said, acknowledging how others might view the situation.

It shouldn't matter if it "looked bad" but, sadly, it probably does... As the rest of the story shows, it probably made a great deal of difference in the treatment she received from police.

Nancy went home with the man and started to have consensual sex. As this was happening, the man who had been arrested earlier showed up and jumped on top of her.

The two men began assaulting her at the same time, grabbing her hair and forcing her to perform sex acts.

“That’s pretty much how it went most of the night,” she said.

Nancy conceded that she was drunk. (She recalled having at least seven drinks.) But she said she was thinking clearly enough to know this was not what she wanted.

After awhile, Nancy blacked out. She said it was likely a combination of what was happening and the alcohol. When she came to, she discovered a new man assaulting her. Nancy bluntly asked him who he was.

“And then they all started laughing,” she said.

A fourth man was asked if he wanted to get involved; Nancy screamed, “No!” The other men continued to hold her down and assault her in the dark room. None of them wore condoms, she said.

I told them to stop. I didn’t want to do this,” Nancy wrote in her statement for the police. “They all kept switching positions and throwing me around how they wanted me.”

The fourth man stood blocking the doorway, she said.

The men had taken Nancy’s cell phone and kept it from her during the incident. Several friends tried to call her. Someone reportedly answered one of the calls and told her friend, “She’s busy,” and hung up.

That night, Craig, who was in South Dakota where he was working with a harvesting crew, got a call from someone he thinks was one of the four men. The caller told him his wife was having sex with several men.

Craig initially thought it was a prank.

“I didn’t know what to believe at first,” he said. “Then, I started to think … ‘What the heck’s going on here?’ because that ain’t something my wife would do.”

Later, three of the men left, and the third man stayed behind. When Nancy got up to go to the bathroom, he followed her.

“He pushed the bathroom door open, grabbed my hair, slammed me down on the sink and started all over again,” she said.

Eventually, he gave it up and left.

“I was the last person to leave the apartment,” Nancy said.

She then escaped to a friend's house and that morning went in to the emergency room. A nurse called police to report the rape. Nancy gave a statement and her clothing as evidence. Then she had to drive to Fargo where a sexual assault kit could be collected. The Rape & Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo stated that the kit showed signs of forced, non-consensual sex including "lacerations, bruising and bleeding.”

The incident occurred early morning on July 27 but the police did not search the apartment where the attack occurred until July 30

This is an absolute joke. Let me tell you this, Mayville is not an epicenter of crime in North Dakota. You can bet your life, those officers had time to go and preserve crime scene. For whatever reason- laziness or something more sinister- -they chose not to.

The failure of police doesn't end there I'm afraid.

On July 28, Nancy wrote a seven-page statement and was recorded on video describing the incident for the police. She was able to give names of three of the four men, including one she recalled meeting briefly before.

Nancy said the police interviewed her Aug. 1. She said Chief Stan Baker asked questions that riled her.

“He kept saying to me, ‘So, when your husband made that phone call, that’s when you decided that you didn’t want to do it anymore?’ ” Nancy said.

“I had no idea who was on the phone. I didn’t answer the phone,” she said. “I didn’t hear what they were saying, and obviously, I didn’t hear what (Craig) was saying.”

Nancy said the police asked her why she didn’t attempt to get away, why she didn’t fight back against the four men larger than her.

“Sorry, but I’m 5-2, 145. What was I supposed to do?” she asked.

One question made her especially irate.

So, they never really physically restrained you?” Baker asked, according to Nancy.

“And I flipped,” she said.

Nancy said the police told her they had questioned the four men.

“They all admit they were there with me that night,” Nancy said. But beyond that, she said, she doesn’t know what else they told police.

Since the interview, Nancy has not had contact with the authorities. Craig said any information they’ve gotten about the investigation, they’ve had to seek out themselves.

“They haven’t gone out of their way to tell us anything,” he said.

If a family member had been murdered... hell if a store had been robbed... don't you think the police would keep the victim(s) in the loop so they have a sense that SOMETHING is being done. That people care?

Apparently Nancy doesn't warrant that kind of treatment. It is still up in the air if there will be any charges filed at this point.

Navigating this ordeal has been tough, particularly, in a town of roughly 2,000 people where rumors travel at high speed, the couple said.

Nancy said that, for a while, she blamed herself for what happened.

“It was a pretty crazy night … and I did really stupid things by even going out,” she said. “I did a lot wrong, and obviously, I’m learning that doesn’t justify that I was actually raped.”

The fact that Nancy lives in such a small town works to her disadvantage. And sad to say that sometimes with small towns, comes small minds. Take this gem-- from the Grand Forks Herald story:

Nancy said she’s been spending most of her time at home lately.

“I don’t really go anywhere … unless (Craig) is right there with me,” she said.

Nancy said she can’t stand going to the grocery store for fear of, once again, overhearing people talk about the incident. Craig said he and Nancy can hardly bring themselves to drive by the apartment where the alleged assault occurred. Nancy even quit her job as a waitress because some of the men frequent the restaurant where she worked. And, Craig said, they ran into one of the men at the gas station.

“We liked the town before. Quiet town, you know, felt safe,” he said. “We don’t want to be there anymore. This has pretty much driven us out.”

The 30-something couple, along with their four kids, ages 4 months to 14 years old, said they’re planning to leave Mayville, where they’ve lived for three years, and move out of state.

After putting my paper down, I had to take long deep breaths to keep from screaming/sobbing.

We chased a family out of our state because we'd rather blame a victim than launch a REAL investigation.

We'd rather believe that some "slutty women" get what's coming to them than ensure that women in our state aren't vulnerable to gang rape.

We'd rather pretend rape doesn't exist and therefore create a culture where rape is acceptable.

I believe this woman was attacked. I believe the authorities who "interviewed" her blamed her for it, botched their investigation and now are hanging her out to dry so that the worst among us (MR. RETIRED FARMER ASSHOLE) can say she invited this brutal attack on herself.

God damn, I'm pissed at my state.


The Red Queen said...

Oh Tobes- that story makes me want to make with the stabby stabbyness.

Though us big city folk aren't so nice about the gang rapes either.

Anonymous said...

Tobes...I want to thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts! The woman in the story is my niece. Your support is very much appreciated.

Tobes said...


Thank you for stopping by. Please let your niece know that she did the right thing, the brave thing. And I am sorry for what happened to her. She DID NOT deserve it.