This is something that has been bothering me for a while.
I came across this horrific story about Tiffany Wright, a pregnant teenage girl from North Carolina who was gunned down at a bus stop. Tiffany’s adoptive mother died in January and this young girl had since been in the care of her ex-con 36-year-old foster brother. Authorities believe he was the father of her unborn child.
She had been in and out of the foster system since she was a toddler. It seems like her adoptive mother was the last person to care about her. Why on earth did they leave her with a man with a history of domestic violence and drug charges? I have had many background checks for jobs and volunteer work, and it seems like they would have done one regardless of the fact that she knew him before she went into his custody. They suspected this child (yes, CHILD) had been a victim of statutory rape at the hands of this man, and they had not yet taken him in for questioning. They “phoned him multiple times.” Yeah. Good going, Charlotte’s Finest. My debt collectors have also phoned me multiple times, and guess what? I don’t answer the phone when it’s likely to be someone I don’t want to talk to. You’re talking to a potential rapist –take appropriate action!
I have had a few bad experiences with police. My father broke the deadbolt lock when we locked him out after he got violent and threatened to kill my mother, and the cops laughed it off and let him into the house with us, anyway. We had begun filing for a restraining order, but it hadn’t been finalized.
I was once briefly detained by two police officers while I was walking home one night because they thought I “looked angry.” I was pretty annoyed because I was tired and on my way home and they got in my way and were holding me for no reason. I was let go because I had nothing illegal on me and there was no evidence to suggest that I had been participating in any illegal activities. Prior to the police approaching me, I had been at a coffee shop checking my e-mail.
When I called the cops after the repo man grabbed me around the neck in my parking lot, the officer yelled at me, made fun of me, and told me that since I hadn’t been bruised nor had I lost consciousness, it wasn’t a real problem.
Even so, I remain hesitant to badmouth cops who are just doing their job. But–the police of Charlotte really dropped the ball. This girl was poor, black, and didn’t have any “real” family. She was ignored, and now she’s dead. The baby she was carrying also died. Tiffany never had a chance. The police captain is quoted as saying “If we had felt her life was in danger … that is the barometer we use. It’s not like it was the only case they’re investigating.” Oh, her life wasn’t in danger. It’s just likely that she was getting raped by her legal guardian. Apparently that is acceptable.
Last month I came across another story about several missing or murdered prostitutes in North Carolina. The strangest thing about the story was that I hadn’t heard anything about it before. Normally when that many women go missing from one area, it’s national news. The so-called Craigslist killer received a lot of press, mostly due to the story’s “shocking” nature. But why is it shocking? Because he’s a good-looking white guy? Don’t get me wrong, the story deserved press, but not at the expense of others whose killers are still out there.
It’s been documented that crimes towards young, attractive, upper- or upper-middle-class white women will get far more publicity than crimes towards poor or minority women or men no matter their age or level of attractiveness. Call it “Missing White Woman Syndrome” or whatever you will, but it’s real. And it’s sad. The missing prostitutes were all poor and black. They weren’t high-level call girls like those targeted by the Craigslist Killer. They weren’t teenagers on vacation, they weren’t some politician’s interns, and they weren’t beauty queens. But they were people, with families and some with children. What gives?
For those of you who may believe that prostitution is a victimless crime, here are some statistics:
Those who need it most are the ones left with the least protection.