US Spending Millions to Train Women Police Officers Worldwide. What About At Home?
This article was originally published by Public Radio International.
Last week’s Justice Department investigation into the Baltimore Police Department shocked the nation — and not just for its accusations of racism and aggressive police tactics. At the back of the report was a detailed accounting of rampant sexism in the department — exposing how officers routinely ignored reports of rape and sexual assault against women, calling them “whores” and testing rape kits less than 15 percent of the time. In 2010, The Baltimore Sun also documented police dismissing reports of rape and sex crimes.
But now, in response, a handful of women’s rights advocates are trying to call attention to a simple solution that has gotten little traction: hire more female officers. Research shows that rates of violence against women, sexual assault, rape and homicide all decline when women officers are on the force.
However while the solution is ignored domestically, Across Women’s Lives has uncovered that the US government is in fact spending tens of millions annually on increasing women in the ranks of security services.
Outside of the US, that is.
“Although tremendous more investment is needed, there’s been increased attention in foreign policy circles around the importance of getting women in police forces over the last decade. And much of the same reasoning applies domestically,” says Allison Peters, senior policy adviser for Inclusive Security, a Washington, DC, organization that advocates for the inclusion of women in peace and security worldwide. “And certainly much more discussion is needed in the mainstream policy circles about this issue in reforming police departments in the US.”
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