Commander Hicken wants women to dress better to avoid rape

Commander Hicken wants women to dress better to avoid rape

Police Commander of A Division, Clifton Hicken believes women should dress “morally acceptable” to avoid being targets for rape. Mr. Hicken heads the largest police division in Guyana.

His comment came on the same day that the Guyana Police Force announced an increase in incidents of rape in the country. At least 50 women have reported being brutally raped during the first 10 months of this year.

Hicken said “we are thinking about preventing somebody from committing an offence and yet we are creating an atmosphere in terms of society which seems to be the norm now. When we are within our partnership programmes we advocate for the young females who seem to be vulnerable within a certain age group that is moving from around 13 to 18, 16 to 18, and we always try to embrace an attire that would be accepted morally and not to have yourself in an attire that you create this type of look, when I say look by the opposite gender.”

The Commander’s comments have created a firestorm on social media with hundreds of persons on Facebook criticising his belief that the way a woman dresses could lead to her being attacked and raped.

The Opposition Party, A Partnership for National Unity was swift in its condemnation and said it is clear that there is a need to educate the Police Force about rape.

The APNU said the statements by Hicken are wrong and sends a message to victims of rape that they were somehow responsible for the violence meted out to them.

“These remarks attributed to a senior police officer show clearly the need for education at all levels of the force to sensitize ranks on this most heinous crime. Police officers must be educated to know that rapists are not overcome with sexual desire or that a woman who is raped may have dressed too seductively or “asked for it” in some manner. These ideas assume that rape is only a sexual act, a crime that is motivated by desire. It is not. Rape is a violent crime, a hostile act, and an attempt to hurt and humiliate another person.”

Sex is used as a weapon, and rapists use that weapon against women, strangers and acquaintances of all ages, races and body types.

According to the party, Hicken’s comments show clearly the need for education at all levels of the force to sensitize ranks on “this most heinous crime.”

“Police officers must be educated to know that rapists are not overcome with sexual desire or that a woman who is raped may have dressed too seductively or “asked for it” in some manner. These ideas assume that rape is only a sexual act, a crime that is motivated by desire. It is not. Rape is a violent crime, a hostile act, and an attempt to hurt and humiliate another person. Sex is used as a weapon, and rapists use that weapon against women, strangers and acquaintances of all ages, races and body types”, the APNU statement said.

Filed: 17th November, 2014

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